Neapolitan Stuffed Easter Bread / Neapolitan Casatiello
The casatiello is a savory filled Neapolitan Easter bread that nonna Galasso made from memory. For her it held all the symbolism of faith. Casatiello derives from case, which in Neapolitan dialect means “cheese”, because of the use of cheese in the dough and in the filling. The rising dough meant the promise of new life; the shape of the bread symbolized a crown and the eggs meant rebirth. There are many variations of this stuffed bread, but it is one of those antique recipes not made at home anymore and Neapolitans are likely to buy them at their local bakery. That is a pity!
- Dough Ingredients
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 2 cups warm water
- 4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 4 ounces lard or 1/3 Filippo Berio cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Filling Ingredients
- 1/2 pound chunk provolone or scamorza cheese, cut into cubes
- 1/2 pound chunk mortadella, salami, or boiled ham cut into cubes
- Salt to taste
- Grinding black pepper
- 4 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Grease a 10 inch tube pan with a removable bottom and set aside.
- Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and allow to get foamy looking.
- Heap the flour on a work surface or add it to the work bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the yeast, lard or olive oil, salt and pepper and work it into the flour; add the cheese and enough additional warm water to make a soft ball of dough. Cover and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours in a warm place, or until it doubles in size.
- Punch down the dough and break off a large orange-size piece and set aside.
- Knead the remaining dough and roll out into a large 18 by 14-inch rectangle and scatter the cheese and mortadella over the surface to within an inch of the edges. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Starting at the longest side, roll the dough up as for a jellyroll, making sure to tuck in the ends and place it in the tube pan. Tuck the two ends together.
- Cover and allow to rise for about 1 hour or until the dough is 3/4 of the way up the sides of the pan.
- Place 3 of the eggs randomly on the top of the dough, pressing them in to anchor them. Divide the saved piece of dough into 6 equal pieces and roll each piece into a 4-inch-long length. Use two pieces to make a cross over each egg. Beat the remaining egg with a fork and brush it over the surface of the dough.
- Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until golden brown. Let cool on a rack then run a butter knife along the inside edges of the pan, and loosen the bottom and remove it. Turn the bread out. Serve warm, cut into wedges.
This recipe was featured on Season 20 - Episode 2020.