Sarsina is a small village on the Appenines between Forlì and Cesena.
It’s “famous” because in the local cathedral guards a special collar, owned by Saint Vicinio.
He was used to wear it with a heavy stone while praying as form of penance.
It’s believed this collar can free possessed people from the devil and from every evil ( as seen as health problems).
The collar closes around the neck of the possessed and does not open until the devil goes away.
In our zone some elderly still scare children by saying ” I bring you to Sarsina to wear the collar!”
Closed this small folkloristic story let’s speak about this loaf: it’s very similar to many Easter sweet bread like hot cross buns but it’s commonly eaten with hard boiled egg ( blessed, if you believe) and cold cuts on Easter morning.
It has aniseed liquor and seeds inside; nor me neither my husband love aniseed so we substituted it with rhum.
A good choice if I can say!
Let’s jump to the recipe!
Easter loaf from Sarsina.
- 400 g strong bread flour
- 100 g milk
- 2 medium eggs
- 9 g fresh yeast ( or 4 g dry active yeast)
- 1 tsp honey
- 60 g caster sugar
- 75 g soft butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp aniseed liquor or rhum
- 70 g raisins
- lemon zest
- milk for first brushing
- honey for the second brushing
- Melt very well yeast with honey into the milk ( lukewarm) add 100 g of the flour written in the recipe.Cover it and wait for 30 minutes.
- Put this mix into the mixer, add the rest of the flour, sugar and eggs alternating them and mixing for a couple of minutes after each adding.Add salt and soft butter in small pieces, mix until the dough is smooth and elastic ( about 10-15 minutes). Add the lemon zest, the tablespoon of liquor, mix a couple of minutes more.
- Put in a greased bowl and cover with cling film.Let it rest for one hour then knead the dough incorporating raisins ( previously soaked in some liquor, aniseed or rhum).
- Put the loaf on a baking tray lined with parchment and let it rise covered with a cloth until it doubles.
- Cut a cross on the loaf with a sharp knife, brush with milk and bake at 360°F for 25- 30 minutes, if it turns too dark low the temeprature.
- Take the loaf out of the oven, when it's still hot brush with honey to make it shiny.
- Let it cool before serving, it's traditionally baked on Holy Friday to be eaten on Easter morining.