As sure as the tunes of ‘Hot Cross Buns’ and ‘Peter Cottontail’ will rage in your head for days in a row, colored eggs, chocolate rabbits, hot cross buns, baked ham, and roasted lamb will be an inevitable part of your Easter menu. Easter feasts are colorful, delicious, and full of symbolism. Have you ever wondered how these traditions came to be and why we eat certain foods at Easter?
Let’s make Easter cooking fun, not just by learning a few fun facts, but also by focusing on recipes that will reduce the time you spend in the kitchen, allowing you to spend more time with your loved ones. Because, after all, Easter is a family celebration!
Easter Breakfast and Brunch
Go out there and hunt for eggs instead of cooking in the kitchen! Choose one of these easy Easter breakfast and brunch ideas that can be made in advance.
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There will be lots of eggs on Easter, so you’d better be prepared to put them to good use!
Eggs are a symbol of rebirth and immortality, but there is also a practical explanation of why they are so widely used on Easter. Christian tradition forbids eggs and all other animal-derived foods during the Lent so, in the past, people would end up with a bunch of unused eggs from their hens, very eager to re-include them in their everyday diet after 40 days of restraint!
Today, Easter eggs are decorated with bright colors to symbolize joy, but also to honor spring. They are hunted for, exchanged among friends and family, taken to church to be blessed, and offered on the festive table!
This creamy and dreamy brunch recipe is made super-healthy with the use of asparagus and extra fulfilling from the eggs and cheese. Let’s not forget the ham!
There is nothing easier to make than stuffed (deviled) eggs and the possibilities for varying the filling are endless! Blue cheese is just one of them.
Bread has always been part of religious rites and ceremonies. It symbolizes renewal and because of that it is associated with Christ’s resurrection. It is also prepared in commemoration of the Last Supper, when Christ shared bread with the disciples.
Easter breads are often made in symbolic shapes or with special ingredients. For instance, they often call for raisins or include decorated eggs on top.
Hot Cross Buns are rich, spiced tea cakes usually served on Good Friday. In the past, they were made without dairy products and consumed throughout the whole period of Lent. They were even believed to have medicinal purposes! Hot cross buns are made with raisins or currants, with a cross on the top to represent the crucifixion of Christ. The spices used in the buns represent the spices used to embalm Christ’s body before the burial.
Alternatively, you can make Placek, a sweet yeast bread with golden raisins and topped with sugar crumble, traditionally served on Easter.
Easter Main Courses
Ham and lamb are the traditional choices, so the following meal ideas are sure to bring back lots of memories. Spring provides fresh seasonal ingredients to combine them with, but also gives you an opportunity to get playful and informal if you wish. So, instead of setting up a formal dinner table decorated with your best China and crystal glasses, why not arrange a buffet-style table in the backyard and make it cheerful with simple Easter decorations?
Whatever you decide to do, remember to keep things simple and prepare everything you can the day before.
While the rest of the world enjoys lamb and chicken, people in the States opt for pink, salty, cured ham, smothered in a glaze. The tradition to eat ham is explained by the fact that the meat from pigs slaughtered during the winter (cured in salt and smoked) was ready to be consumed in spring, i.e. immediately after the Lent. Being salted and smoked, the ham is already completely cooked and only need so be reheated, which gives us another reason to love it!
Give this traditional dish a modern twist by preparing a glaze with a fizzy cola, sugar, and onion. Make it stand out by decorating with pineapple slices and cherries on top!
Or keep the dish old-fashioned by preparing it with a gold mustard crust!
A large portion of the Christian world prepares lamb on Easter or substitutes this meat with edible lamb figures made of buttery pastry. Lamb is a symbol of purity and innocence and has always been associated with Christianity. Even the pope has adopted it as a part of his Easter Dinner, so it is only logical that it appears as a centerpiece of Easter festive tables.
Enhance the delicate flavor of lamb with a marinade made with lemon juice and herbs, complemented with a simple mint sauce on top!
Elegant, but easy-to-prepare dish, perfect for special occasions. The bread crumb contributes subtle crunchiness and captivates the juices!
If you prefer lighter and whiter meat variations, you will probably choose to prepare chicken.
A perfect mix of colorful veggies and crisp chicken, perfect for outdoor feasting during warm days!
Juiciness from the lemon, freshness from the rosemary and beautiful aroma from the onion, blend in this moist and tender roast.
Here comes the part that kids love. Chocolate rabbits, chicks, and eggs became popular in the 19th century and remain so today, but instead going for candies from the Easter basket, treat your kids with amazing holiday desserts – cakes, pies, tarts, cookies and more! Any kind of dessert you decide to make can be easily turned into a festive delight with a few simple Easter-appropriate decorations. Here is a quick suggestion:
Make a frosting by microwaving 3oz. of broken milk chocolate for about a minute or so. In a bowl, beat together 5oz. of butter and 5oz. of powdered sugar, then add the melted chocolate. Spread on your dessert and decorate with chocolate eggs or Maltesers, chocolate bunnies, or colorful M&M’s. Arrange in small baskets for presentation.
When it comes to cakes, Simnel cake is THE cake to make for Easter. It is a light fruit cake, made with layers of marzipan and almond paste at the top and in the middle, and eaten toasted during the Easter period in England and Ireland. The cake is usually decorated with 12 marzipan balls to symbolize the twelve apostles.
If you don’t feel like preparing a Simnel cake, here are two more easy suggestions:
Easy ring cake which combines two batters – chocolate and almond for an amazing marbled effect!
Tender and moist cake filled with raisins and walnuts, and topped with cream cheese frosting.
Easter biscuits are a traditional Easter food gift in the UK, where it is given to guests on Easter Sunday. They are very simple to make from flour, baking powder, sugar, egg yolk, and butter. Use cookie molds to shape them into bunnies, chicks, eggs, or butterflies and decorate with a simple frosting divided into several batches and made colorful with the use of different food colorings.
Bonus: Chocolate Nest Cookies
Make a chocolate cookie dough, shape it into little nests and fill it with miniature colorful eggs.
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I believe that food should not only taste good, but make you feel good as well and that is why I am so interested in exploring ingredients, preparing meals, and finding ways to make the whole cooking experience fun and exciting! Being a blogger for MyGreatRecipes unites my two passions – food and writing, and I am enjoying every second of it!