Folar: A traditional Portuguese Easter bread

Folar: A traditional Portuguese Easter bread

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Blogger and foodie Piglet in Portugal outlines the history behind this unique bread and shares a local recipe.

Shopping at the local farmers market a couple of years ago, I could not help but notice a crowd of woman gathering round a particular cake stall. Curiosity eventually getting the better of me, I went over to investigate. I squeezed my way through to the front of the queue and discovered these odd-looking "cakes" with hard-boiled eggs--complete with shells--embedded into the cake. I understood enough Portuguese to establish they were actually traditional Easter "breads", called Folar.

Intrigued, especially as they were literally selling like "hot-cakes", I decided to bite-the-bullet and bought one to surprise some friends who were coming for lunch on Easter Sunday. Sadly, they were not that impressed, as pieces of eggshell remained embedded in the bread, which made for a rather bizarre gastronomic experience to say the least.

Years later, I am more keen to discover why hardboiled eggs are included in this bread and what is the story behind it...and how to cook my own Folar.

Folar da Páscoais
is traditional Portuguese Easter bread and contains hard-boiled eggs. The eggs apparently stem from the Pagan festival Oestre (egg) where eggs were used to symbolize rebirth. Despite regional variations such as including lemon zest or cinnamon, they all contain hard-boiled eggs held in place by a cross of bread dough.

Recipe courtesy of Paws2Claws from Central Portugal. This is the recipe her Portuguese neighbour uses and kindly passed on.

400g Flour
15g Fresh Yeast or packet yeast - (fresh yeast is best and you can buy it from any Paderia (bakery))
45g Caster Sugar or Icing Sugar if you can't get Caster Sugar
90g Butter
1 Egg
300ml Milk
1 tspn Aniseed
1 tspn Cinnamon
pinch of sea Salt
To decorate:
1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs (leave in their shells)
1 beaten egg for brushing

Flickr © Riafoge

In a bowl combine the yeast, 1/4 of the flour, a 1/3 of the milk (warmed) and half the sugar.
Mix together to form a dough, cover and leave in a warm place for 1/2 hour
Whisk the eggs with the salt and spices and remaining milk and sugar.
Kneed in the flour and egg mix to the dough gradually then kneed in the butter.
Cover the dough and leave it to rise for about three hours in a warm place.
Break the dough into two (or leave whole) and plant the eggs on top. Make a cross with two rolled lengths of dough to put on the top, holding the egg in place.
Brush the bread with the beaten egg.
Cook at 425F/Gas 7 until golden brown

Reprinted with permission of Piglet in Portugal

Piglet in Portugal is a blogger from the UK who writes regularly about her and her family’s experiences in Portugal.  Her tales run from the bizarre to the ridiculous and often deal with the challenges faced due to language or cultural misunderstandings of everyday life in Portugal.  You can check out her blog here.

Photo credits: Baiao and Flickr © Riafoge


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