Pupa Cu L'OVa - Sicilian Easter Cookies
My Grandmother had a lot of siblings, and this recipe is shared with permission and pride from my cousin Lori. It is her Grandmother's recipe for Sicilian Easter Cookies and her father continued the tradition and always baked them every year. We call them Pupa Cu L'ova, but I've heard a few other names for them. They were on my Grandmother's table every Easter, they were usually made on Good Friday and we'd pick on them through the week. Easter morning my Grandfather would dip the cookie part in coffee and eat the hard boiled egg. I admit that I wouldn't touch the egg when I was little, but they will always remind me of the joy of being at my Grandparents' house and Italian-American traditions.
I've made the shapes a little different this year, but my family would make big basket shapes and cover with sprinkles and Jelly Beans. No wrong way to do it, and with kids the more decorations the better! Enjoy my Aunt Laura's Easter Cookies, they are such a fun Easter treat and a gift from such an incredible generation.
(makes about 8-10 large cookies)
- 5 cups All-Purpose flour
- 1 cup Crisco
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 2 Tablespoons Vanilla
- 1 pinch of salt
- 5 eggs, well beaten
- up to 1/3 cup as needed to make dough soft to roll
- 6 raw dyed or decorated eggs
- 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
- 1/3 cup milk or less - until desired consistency
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Nonpareil Sprinkles
The night before you will make the cookies, dye about a dozen raw eggs to your preferred colors. This makes sure they won't bleed on the dough when cooking as it gives time for color to set.
Preheat oven to 375 F
Sift flour, baking soda and salt in one large bowl. Set aside.
In mixer with paddle, whip the sugar and crisco together until fluffy. Add vanilla. Slowly add beaten eggs.
Change to dough hook and gradually add all the flour mixture. Let hook work dough (or with hands is fine if you don't have a dough hook!). Add a little bit of milk at a time until consistency is workable and not sticky. Should be almost like playdough. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or more if you want to make ahead of baking time.
Roll a piece of dough and then flatten to a 3' round to make a base for egg. Place egg on center and build up the sides of your "basket" but braiding rolled out dough pieces or twisting ropes into a pattern. You can make crosses over eggs or a handle for your basket.
Place cookies on parchment-lined baking sheet and cook on center rack of oven for 20 minutes or until dough is firm to touch and starting to turn golden. This time really is just a window - the timing depends on the size of your cookie, so I recommend keeping an eye on it around 15 minutes.
While cookies are baking, mix together the powdered sugar and milk and almond extract until an icing consistency. Slowly mix and add the milk - you don't need to use the whole amount and might even need to add more depending on how you like it.
When cookies are done, remove from sheet and ice them with a brush or you can drizzle. Sprinkle on nonpareils.