Let’s Talk Food: This Sunday is Easter

This Sunday is Easter Sunday with a bounty of delectable foods. It is a tradition to include lamb, baked ham and chicken, with side dishes such as potatoes, hot vegetables, a green salad and a bunch of desserts. Here in Hawaii, other dishes may include poke and rice — either plain or in the form of sushi or layered rice.

According to the Food Network, the most popular Easter dishes are:


• Classic Glazed Ham

• Four-Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

• Honey-Glazed Carrots

• Creamy Spring Peas with Pancetta

• Easter Dinner on Two Sheet Pans

• Baked Ham with Brown Sugar Mustard Glaze

• Classic Deviled Eggs

• Macaroni and Cheese

• Asparagus and Cheese Tart

• Orange Baked Ham

• Glazed Baked Ham

• Simple Scalloped Potatoes

• Hot Cross Buns

• Crown Roast of Lamb

• Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Roast

• Lemon Curd

• Easter Pie

• Carrot Cake

• Easter Bunny Cake

• Coconut Bunny Butt Cake

• • •

Italian Easter pie is sometimes called pizza rustica or pizza chiena, and is usually savory, with chopped cured salamis, Italian cheese, in a dense, eggy filling. To make the authentic Easter pie, it is not unusual for the recipe to ask for 28 eggs and two pounds of charcuterie. However, this sweet Easter Pie, courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis is easy to make and serves 8-10.

Sweet Easter Pie

3/4 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for garnish

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 (15 ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese

1/2 cup cooked short-grained rice

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

6 sheets fresh phyllo sheets or frozen, thawed

3/4 stick (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

Blend 3/4 cup powdered sugar, eggs, vanilla, orange zest and ricotta in a food processor until smooth. Stir in rice and pine nuts. Set the ricotta aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly butter a 9-inch glass pie dish. Lay 2 phyllo sheets over the bottom and up the sides of the dish, allowing the phyllo to hang over the sides. Brush the phyllo sheets with the melted butter. Top with the second sheet of phyllo dough, laying it in the opposite direction as the first phyllo sheet. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the dish. Fold the ricotta mixture into the dish. Fold the overhanging phyllo dough over the top of the filling to enclose it completely.

Brush completely with melted butter.

Bake the pie until the phyllo is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool completely. Sift powdered sugar over the pie and serve.

• • •

Want soft, pillowy rolls? Using the Japanese technique call tangzhong, you can have extremely tender, fluffy, lighter-than-air rolls! I have written about this method of baking bread and rolls in the past but because the end results are so wonderful, it is worth repeating.

The tangzhong (tang-CHUNG) method involves making a flour and liquid paste which is combined with the other ingredients. According to Cuisine magazine, “By heating a portion of the liquids, more liquid can be added to the dough, because flour absorbs twice as much hot liquid as it does cold. This makes for a super-hydrated dough that yields that is both moist and fluffy, because the liquid converts to steam, acting as a leavening agent, thus creating rise. This level of hydration also impacts the gluten development, giving the dough structure to hold onto the steam versus letting it escape.”

Milk Bread Dough

Cuisine At Home

Makes 6-12 servings

Tangzhong paste:


1/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup water

3 tablespoons bread flour

Combine in saucepan, whisk until smooth. Heat over low, whisking constantly, until thick but still pourable, 3-5 minutes; transfer to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.


1/2 cup cold whole milk

1 egg

Whisk until combined. Fit mixer with dough hook.


2-1/2 cups bread flour (11 ounces)

2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk

2 teaspoons instant yeast

Mix on low speed until there are no dry bits of flour, 1-2 minutes. Let dough stand 15 minutes. Add:

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon table salt

Knead dough for 5 minutes, then add one tablespoon at a time:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and softened

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, 30-60 seconds, shaped into a ball. Transfer dough, seam side down, to a lightly oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about one hour.

To make dinner rolls:

Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray. Turn out dough onto counter, gently deflate, divide into 8 pieces and shape pieces into balls. Arrange balls, seam sides down, in prepared pan, with on ball in center and others around the edge. Cover pan and let rolls rest until they are puffy and fill out the pan, about one hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls until deep golden brown on top and the thermometer in center roll registers 190 degrees, 25-30 minutes.

Cool rolls in pan 3 minutes, turn out onto a rack them brush tops and sides with:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Foodie Bites


The Hawaii Community College’s Culinary Arts students are busy preparing for the Hilo Classic Food Show this Thursday, so the Cafeteria and the Bamboo Hale will be closed.

Next week, it is Merrie Monarch week and the foods of Hawaii will be featured at the Bamboo Hale.

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