Friday, April 2, 2010

Paashaasjes

Easter is coming! And with that, we get ready to plan the biggest meal of the weekend: Easter breakfast/brunch with the family! Pretty bread rolls and pastries, cold cuts, sweet bread toppings, egg dishes, juices, and loads and loads of coffee and tea, of course. After which the kids go for the egg hunt, and the adults remain at the table, picking at things, talking about (what else) the weather, and having another cup of coffee. Gezellig!

And we don't celebrate Easter once, we celebrate it twice! That's right - when the rest of the world is going back to work on Monday, the Dutch take another day off and celebrate what is known as Tweede Paasdag, Second Easter Day! Many government offices and most stores will continue to be closed that day, but it's a great day for taking a stroll along the beach or in the forest, visiting one of the theme parks that the country is rich, and for finishing up the leftovers of the previous day's lavish breakfast or brunch.

One highlight of the Easter brunch is the variety of breads: croissants, crunchy rolls, sliced loaves that tend to be a bit more luxurious than what usually comes to the table. You'll find a similar bread to the Kerststol, an almond paste filled fruit bread, called Paasbrood in the stores, and the bakers will have a great selection of Easter inspired pastries, cookies, bonbons, cakes and more.

Here at the Dutch Table, we've been making Paashaasjes, Easter bunnies, for every Easter brunch. These bread bunnies, are a great way of combining bread and eggs into one, and they're a great favorite with the kids as well as adults. The dough is savory, not sweet, so combines well with the hard boiled egg.

Paashaasjes
4 cups flour (500 gr.)
1 cup warm milk or water (236 ml)
1/2 cup buttermilk (118 ml)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
6 small eggs, rinsed and dry
18 dark raisins or currants
1 egg, beaten well

Mix the warm milk or water and buttermilk, sprinkle the yeast on top and let it proof for several minutes. The yeast should start to form bubbles and create foam on the liquid. Add the flour to a bowl or mixer, pour in the yeasty milk and knead for several minutes. Add the salt and continue to knead until the dough comes together into a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (If you're a heavy scooper, you may need to add a little bit of liquid for it to come together). Knead the dough on the counter for a couple of minutes, then cover and rest it in a greased bowl, at room temperature, and let it rise until double.

Punch down the dough and divide into six equal parts, rolling each into a ball. Relax the dough for five minutes, covered, then roll into ovals of approximately 6 to 7 inches long with the help of a rolling pin. With a sharp knife or with scissors, make a cut of about two inches length-wise in the top of the dough: those will be the ears. Make a similar cut one inch on each side of the ear at an angle, and then cut back at an angle (see picture above, that's easier than trying to explain it!).

Put three raisins (two for the eyes, one for the nose) where the face is going to be. Stretch both of those arms a bit, put a raw egg in the shell (the egg will be hard boiled when it comes out of the oven) on its tummy and fold the arms over. Place the bunnies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Cover and let rise in a warm place until puffy. Push the raisins in just a bit so that they'll cook in the dough and not on top, as they may come off. Right before going in the oven, brush the bunnies with the egg wash, and press a toothpick in sideways to mark the whiskers, the ears and the paws.

Bake at 375F (190C) for about 20 minutes or until golden.

This will make six bunnies.


4 comments:

  1. They are SO cute! A bit of a challenge for someone like me who's not very creative though;) Are the eggs you used there real eggs? Candy eggs? As a once a year creation I'd love to give these a go:D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Coby, these are real eggs.... Wash the eggs to remove any possible pathogens, place them unboiled into these little arms and bake. The eggs will be hardboiled by the time the bread is baked and perfectly safe to eat. Have fun with it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nicole, thanks for your email:) I am besotted with these bunnies:) So if these are real eggs are they quite small? Size 45g or something? I just love everything about these:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nope, they're just standard sized eggs, the bunnies are bigger than they look and actually measure a good 10 or 11 inches once you roll out the ears!

    ReplyDelete

I welcome your comments! Please be so considerate as to include a name, as anonymous comments will be deleted. Comments will appear as soon as they are monitored (usually within 24 hours). If you have a direct question, please consider emailing me at nicole at thedutchtable dot com for a faster response, or post on our Facebook page.