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Italian Ricotta Easter Bread

I changed our family's traditional Easter bread by adding ricotta and a few other ingredients. The almond flavoring works wonders! — Tina Mirilovich, Johnstown, Pennsylvania
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Bake: 45 min.
  • Makes
    18 servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup plain or butter-flavored shortening, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (or flavor of choice)
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • GLAZE:
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or flavor of choice)
  • Sliced toasted almonds or assorted sprinkles

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and egg yolks,1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in ricotta and extract. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition, stirring in final 1 cup flour by hand.
  • Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into thirds. Roll each into an 18-in. rope. Place ropes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and braid. Pinch ends to seal; tuck under braid. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45-55 minutes (do not overbake). Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • Meanwhile, beat confectioners' sugar, milk and extract until smooth. Brush on bread while still warm; top with sliced almonds or sprinkles.
Editor's Note
To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Nutrition Facts
1 piece: 376 calories, 11g fat (4g saturated fat), 68mg cholesterol, 247mg sodium, 60g carbohydrate (28g sugars, 1g fiber), 8g protein.
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