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How to cook like an Italian

Buba Cul’Uova

Here is an email to me from my aunt, Rachel Cala:

In Italy, food has always played a symbolic and important role in Easter Festivities. The egg is the Christian emblem of the Resurrection, and Sicilians love to make charming miniature pastry baskets, breads and “dolls” of homemade bread called Buba Cul’Uova.
I can remember my own Sicilian grandmother, Rachela Sacco, my namesake, showing me at an early age, the intricacies of pulling, folding and placing an egg in a doll’s nest. My Mom had told me that old timers could not afford expensive chocolate and substituted these dolls for their children on Easter morning. We always looked forward to helping Grandma make them. Of course, we lived right next door to her, so it was easy sleeping over the night before Easter to get an early start.
Today, I make me own recipe of sweet roll dough with yeast to create them. You can also make or buy bread dough. My own grand daughters, Jesalyn and Melissa Cala take delight in coming over on Easter and helping me to fashion their own “doll. ” They love to cover them with icing and decorate with sprinkles and maybe even a bow, eating them with their Easter Brunch or dinner. Here’s how you do it:
Measure in mixing bowl:
  • 1/2 cup warm water
Add, stiring to disolve:
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
Stir in the following:
  • 1 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup soft shortening
  • half of 7 to 7 1/2 cups sifted flour
Mix with wooden spoon until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to handle easily, mix with hand. Turn onto lightly floured board, knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes).
Round up dough and place in greased bowl, and cover with damp cloth. Let rise in warm place until double,about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down, let rise again until almost double, about 1/2 hour. Divide dough in about 7 lengths, about 10 inches in length. Bring together ends and braid together, place egg in top part, cover again for about 1/2 hour. Bake at 375 F for about 20-25 minutes. When slightly cooled down, frost and sprinkle. The egg will cook in the oven.
Allow bread to cool and enjoy!

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5 Responses to “Buba Cul’Uova”

  1. Tayebeh Yazdanpanah says:

    Hello dear Rachael ray!
    I an 28 years old iranian women.I watch your show on mbc4 almost everday.Ireally enjoy it.I really love your personality .You are very similar to iranian woman.

  2. Looks delicious. Love the tradition behind it all.

  3. Joan Crosby says:

    Loved the article written by my big sis Rae. It brought back memories of my Grandma Rachela. She spoke only Italian but we were able to understand her language of love easily. Her big bed would be covered with resting dough. ,As a little girl I could just peek over the edge to check if it had risen. She also had two fruit trees, vegetables and chickens in her small yard !

  4. Susan Maggiore says:

    Wonderful tribute to Grandma Rachela. Daddy would be so proud to see you continuing this tradition with you lovely granddaughters! I remember her S cookies, the roasted chicken, and all the holidays. Do you remember dancing to Valencia playing on the hand cranked Victrola in the living room with all the cousins jumping from couch to chair, and the door closed to the kitchen where all the women were smoking and drinking coffee? Favorite foods do indeed bring forth memories from long ago.

  5. David Rando says:

    I can not believe that this is here. My niece has been bugging me to make one for her. All my aunts who use to make this are now gone. I can’t wait to make this for my niece even though Easter has passed.

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