When I was growing up, my parents really enjoyed making a big deal out of Easter. Being that they were Jewish (Mom) and Unitarian (Dad), they weren’t really interested in sharing the religious part of it, but they loved building up the mythology of the Easter Bunny and the arrival of spring. What can I say? We were a secular household that loved a reason to celebrate.
Because of this, preparations for Easter typically began weeks before the actual day. It usually started with an increase in scrambled-egg consumption as my dad began blowing eggs empty to keep the shells for decorating. Soon after, my mom would fill the Easter baskets with fresh potting soil and plant real grass in them (she was too much of a hippie to use plastic “grass”). Then, notes from the Easter Bunny would appear and my parents would claim early-morning sightings.
There would be a Saturday dedicated to coloring eggs (often with natural dyes) and an afternoon devoted to baking sugar cookies cut into the shapes of bunnies, eggs and baskets.
Finally, Easter arrived. My sister and I would wake early in order to begin the hunt for our baskets. There would be a note on the dining room table with the first hint and the race would be on. One memorable year my parents even managed to imprint fake bunny footprints all over the yard.
Because of my childhood spent enjoying the lighthearted side of Easter, I was totally smitten by the Easter Egg “Hunt” Cake made by Alex Guarnaschelli. It’s a confection made from puff pastry and filled with sweetened ground almond. You hide a tiny ceramic bunny someplace inside the cake for a whimsical treat. I’m delighted by it and think it’s just the thing for a fun springtime treat. Because puff pastry can be a little bit tricky, make it your Weekender, when you’ve got plenty of time to mix and roll.
Before you mix your egg wash, here are a few things you should know:
– Puff pastry can be frustrating at times. Make sure to give it plenty of time to defrost before trying to unfold it and use an ample amount of flour while rolling and moving.
– Follow Alex’s advice and don’t try to slice this cake until it’s entirely cool. You’re just asking for disappointment otherwise.
– If you can’t find a heatproof ceramic bunny to slip into the cake, don’t think Easter is ruined. It tastes just as good without it.
Marisa McClellan is a food writer and canning teacher who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her food (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first cookbook, also called Food in Jars, will be published by Running Press in May 2012.