The Pagnotta Pasquale is a typical local dessert of the Savio and Rubicone valleys but Mercato Saraceno claims to have invented it. The pagnotta was eaten by poor folk on Easter morning together with the eggs blessed by the priest and in some cases also with a few slices of local salami. It was also eaten at mealtimes during the following days.
2 kg di farina di grano
1 kg di pasta lievitata
700 gr di zucchero
150 gr di strutto (o margarina)
buccia grattugiata di due o tre limoni
2 bustine di vaniglia
un pugno di lievito di birra
un pizzico di sale
Two kilos of wheat flour, a kilo of leavened dough, 700 g of sugar, 150 g of lard (or margarine), ten eggs, grated rind of two or three lemons, two sachets of vanilla powder, a handful of yeast, a pinch of salt and, possibly, raisins.
You start preparing the loaf by mixing the leavened bread dough together with the flour, eggs, yeast, sugar and lemon zest. Add as much milk as needed to obtain a fairly soft dough. Leave the dome-shaped dough to rise for at least 12 hours, then butter a high-sided cake mould, sprinkle it with flour and pour the mixture into it. Before baking the loaf, brush the surface with beaten eggs and make a cut across the surface so it crusts well. Bake in the oven on low heat, over sheets of cooking paper. Take care that the loaf is left to rise in a warm environment at a constant temperature. The current use of yeast has eliminated the old-fashioned method of placing the dough to rise under the bed covers in a bed kept warm with a warming pan used together with a prete or “priest” that was actually a curved wooden-frame used to prevent the sheets from burning through contact with the hot embers in the pan. Bake for about 40 minutes in a hot oven at 200 degrees until the surface is golden brown.