Pigna Italian Easter Sweetbread

Johns Pigna Easter Bread (640x480)

This is an interesting Sweetbread that I still cant decide to eat it as a dessert or bread.  Either way it has a unique taste and smells divine while mixing. Thanks to John from Ontario for sharing it with us. Watch later in week for a fun Easter recipe for kids.

Accessories: Stainless bowl with roller/scraper and the plastic bowl with Balloon whips
Quantity: 2 9″ Round cakes
Total time:  5 – 15 hrs. as bread needs time for a slow rise. Allow flavours to mature for at least 24 hrs before serving.

  • 6 large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk, scalded
  • 4 oz White Vermouth
  • 2 oz Anise Liqueur
  • ½ teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ teaspoon Sea Salt
  • Grated rind of 1 Lemon
  • Grated rind of 1 Orange
  • 1 ½ Cups Sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
  • ¼ Cup Vegetable oil (or ¼ Cup melted Butter)
  • 6 teaspoons Anise Seed (I used crushed Fennel seeds)
  • 7 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Coloured Cake Sprinkles

Pigna Easter BreadThough the recipe and beautifully displayed cake above is compliments of our Guest Baker, shown here is my version.


Scald milk and cool to 105 F.  Dissolve yeast in the milk and oil or butter.

Using Stainless bowl with roller/scraper  add eggs to bowl and whip on high speed until light and fluffy with roller just a fraction from side wall.  Add sugar gradually and continue whipping until smooth and thick.  Slowly pour in milk mixture.  Add vermouth, anise liquor, vanilla extract, salt, and lemon and orange rind.  Mix well.

 Slowly add one cup of flour at a time and incorporate well adjust arm into center of bowl about 3/4 inch when dough starts to climb the roller.  Once all flour has been added remove spatula and knead for 12 minutes until smooth and elastic.  Let rest for 5 minutes and then knead for another 5 minutes.

Grease and flour 2, 9” cake spring form cake pans.  Our Ankarsrum owner who shared the recipe likes using Daddio Cake Pans.

Divide dough into 2 equal portions.  Roll out on a floured surface into a 10” circle and place into cake pans.  Cover with damp cloth.  Ensure that cloth does not touch surface of the cakes.

Allow to rise until cakes reach ¾ of the way up of the cake pans.  This may take from 5 to 15 hours so be patient as this is a critical step.

Bake in a preheated 325F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.  Test with wooden skewer.  If pulls out clean, then the cake is done.

Allow cakes to cool. 

Meanwhile to make meringue, whisk 3 egg whites until foamy.  Add vanilla extract.  Slowly add sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.  Spread meringue over tops of cakes and sprinkle with coloured cake sprinkles.  If desired, bake in a 200F oven until meringue is dry to touch.

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