Every Easter, my grandmother made Italian Easter bread minus the colored eggs (she used white eggs). She didn’t like the bleeding of the colored eggs on the bread. She always made enough dough to make all of the kids a special treat. She made the egg boys for the boys and purses for the girls. Sometimes she made egg girls instead of the purses. She simply shaped the Easter bread dough and formed arms, legs, and a head, or a purse with a strap. She placed a white egg in the belly of the egg boy or in the center of the purse. We all loved them as kids, but after eating an arm or leg, or the egg, we played with them until they fell apart. My dad keeps this tradition going. Every Easter he makes all of his grandkids—great grandkids included—egg people.
- 1 package Fleischmann's active dry yeast ¼ ounce envelope
- ¼ cup water
- ¾ cup whole milk scalded
- 2 packages lemon pudding
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 to 4½ cups sifted King Authur unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 Eggland's Best eggs beaten
- Uncooked Eggland's Best eggs with white shells
- 1 beaten egg 1 tablespoon water for brushing dough before baking
Soften yeast in warm water. Pour hot milk over pudding mix, butter, sugar, and salt. Stir till butter melts and pudding dissolves; cool to lukewarm. Add 1½ cups of the flour and mix well. Stir in softened yeast and 3 beaten eggs; beat well. Gradually add remaining flour (or a little more or less to make a soft dough). Turn out on lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Knead till smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes). Place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover. Let rise till double (about 1¼ hours). Punch down; let rise again till almost double (45 to 60 minutes). Turn out on lightly floured surface and divide dough into fourths; form into balls. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
Shape dough into people approximately 10-inches long. Add one uncooked egg to the center of each dough person. Lay one strip of dough on the egg leaving the top and bottom of the egg exposed. Brush egg people with beaten egg and water. Take knife point and make eyes, nose and mouth. Bake at 375°F for 25 to 30 minutes.