Belula

Brioche Style Easter Bread

This Easter Bread recipe is a brioche style cake, shaped as a ring, topped with homemade pastry cream that is typically prepared for Easter time in Spain and Argentina.

Belula March 22, 2016 March 12, 2021
Easter bread topped with homemade pastry cream and pearl sugar with a bowl in the top left corner and a knife on the bottom left corner.

A special kind of dessert for Easter, the Easter bread: a brioche style bread, shaped as a crown, and topped with homemade pastry cream. This is something that you can find in every pastry shop in Argentina around this time of the year. It smells heavenly. You can find this kind of bread in the south of France too.

What is Easter Bread?

It is a traditional bread eaten around Easter time in many European countries. It is usually shaped as a wreath and it is made of a sweetened yeasted dough. This recipe follows the Spanish and French tradition as it is topped with pastry cream and has butter in the dough.

Because the European immigration in Argentina has been so important, many of our culinary traditions come from the old continent. As is the case with this Easter Bread.

Closeup of the Easter bread as seen from the top.
A slice of the Easter Bread with the whole bread blurry in the background.

Replacing dry yeast with fresh yeast

You can replace the 8 g of dry yeast by 20 g of fresh yeast.

You should always multiply by 2.5 the amount of dry yeast in any given recipe to obtain the amount of fresh yeast it needs to be replaced with.

How to make this Easter Bread dough?

Before starting to work on your dough you should make the pastry cream and let it chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to decorate.

It is a simple recipe, made with simple ingredients. To make it you must:

  • Using a spatula or wooden spoon mix the milk (slightly warm), 35 grams of flour and the yeast. Cover and let it rest in a warm place until it has doubled in volume.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the butter, to the yeast/flour/milk mixture and knead using the hook attachment until the dough no longer sticks to the sided of the bowl.
  • Add the softened butter in 2 additions. Make sure it has been incorporated into the dough before adding the second half of the butter. Knead until the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl, and it is smooth and shiny.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball. Let it rest for 2 hours, covered in a clean bowl.
The ferment dough in a bowl.
All the ingredients to make the Easter Bread inside the mixing bowl with the hook attachment on the side and a bowl with butter on the top.
The kneaded dough plus half of the softened butter inside a bowl.
Easter bread dough after kneading inside the bowl.
Easter bread dough shaped into a ball on the counter with flour around.
Easter bread dough placed inside a clean glass bowl ready to prove.

How to shape this bread into crown/wreath?

  • Press down the dough with your hands to release gases, and shape into a ball again. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Using your elbow, yes you read right! Make sure it is clean! make a hole at the centre of the easter bread. Place a greased small ring or circular cutter in the whole to help hold its shape.
  • Cover with a loose piece of plastic wrap, and let it raise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.
  • Paint brush with the egg wash and bake at 180 C/360 F for 40 minutes, or until golden.

Note: it is important to place the easter bread on a baking tray lined with parchment paper before making the whole at the centre. Otherwise, it will lose its shape once you transfer it onto a baking tray!

The easter bread dough after proving inside a glass bowl.
Easter bread with a whole in the middle.
Easter bread with a whole in the middle and small cutter placed inside on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Easter bread with a whole in the middle and small cutter placed inside on a baking tray lined with parchment paper with a brush on the side and a small bowl with egg wash on the top right-hand side of the tray.

How Do I Keep the Dough from Shrinking Back To Its Original Ball Shape?

To keep that hole at the centre of the bread, you should place a small metallic ring covered in greased aluminium foil. This will hold the shape of the crown/wreath and prevent the dough from losing its shape during proving and while baking.

How Long Should I Bake the Easter Bread For?

The baking time will be approximately of 30/40 minutes. It will depend on the oven, and on the dough. Be attentive to its coloration and check regularly after 30 minutes have gone by.

How to make pastry cream?

  • Whisk the egg yolks and half of the sugar. Add the corn-starch. Set aside.
  • Bring the milk and the other half of the sugar to a boil.
  • Pour half of the milk over the egg yolk/sugar mixture whisking at the same time.
  • Transfer the mixture back to the pot and bring to a boil over medium heat whisking all the time. Once it starts boiling, cook for two more minutes.
  • Transfer to a hermetic container, cover in plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate until cold.

Note: before decorating the bread, whisk the pastry cream until smooth and shiny.

Also, I like to spread the cooked pastry cream on a lined tray with film wrap. This way it cools down faster!

Bowl of sugar, bowl of egg yolks and bowl of corn-starch to make pastry cream.
Yolks and sugar whisked together in a glass bowl with corn-starch in small bowl on the left side.
A bowl with egg yolk/sugar mixture plus the corn-starch.
All three ingredients mixed to make the pastry cream: yolks, sugar, and corn-starch.
A bowl with the warm milk plus the yolk/sugar mixture with a whisk inside.
All the mixture to make pastry cream inside a pan.
Pastry cream ready inside the pan.
Pastry cream in a small baking tray lined with film wrap, with a small spatula on the side.

The final touches of this Easter Bread

To decorate this cake, you must:

  • Let it cool down on a wire rack at room temperature.
  • Using a whisk, smooth out the pastry cream. Pipe it out on top of the Easter Bread and then top with pearl sugar.
  • Enjoy!

You can choose any shape for your pastry cream decorations. And if you don’t have a piping bag, no problem! You can spread the pastry cream using a spatula or the back of a spoon!

The baked Easter bread with a piping bag full of pastry cream on the side.
Easter bread topped with homemade pastry cream and pearl sugar with a bowl in the top left corner and a knife on the bottom left corner.

Variations to this recipe

There are two ways to serve this delicious Easter treat. It is all about the that pastry cream:

  • You can top the bread after it has been baked and once you are ready to have this dessert. Or,
  • You can cake this Easter Bread with the pastry cream.

I prefer the option I present here, because often the pastry cream slides on the side of the bread and finishes on the baking tray. However, it is a valid option and if you want to try it, this is the way to go:

  • Once you have shaped the dough and have made the whole at the centre, using he tips of your fingers gently press down the dough to flatten it out.
  • Bush with egg wash, and let it dry for about 10 minutes.
  • Now decorate with pastry cream and the pearl sugar.
  • Let it rest covered for 45 minutes, or until it has doubles in size.
  • Bake as instructed in the recipe.
King cake with a serving spatula taking out a slice on the inferior left side of the photo
The Easter bread topped with pastry cream with plates on the background and a piping tip on the left bottom corner.
The ingredients used in all recipes on this site are measured using the metric system. I use a scale to be precise with my measurements and ensure good results. If you would also like to use a scale, here are some: USA, Canada, UK, Australia, France.
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Servings: 24 servings
Nutrition: 266 cal
Cuisine: Spanish

Ingredients

Dough

  • Milk 50 g
  • Yeast (dry) 8 g
  • Sugar 65 g
  • Honey 12 g
  • Salt 5 g
  • Eggs 2
  • Bread Flour 250 g
  • Butter 80 g
  • Lemon Zest 1
  • Orange Zest 1

Pastry Cream

  • Milk 250 g
  • Egg Yolks 3
  • Sugar 60 g
  • Cornstarch 20 g

Decoration

  • Pearl Sugar

Egg Wash

  • Eggs 1
  • Egg Yolks 1
  • Cream 1 tbsp
  • Salt 1 pinch

Procedure

  • 1. Prepare the pastry cream: Whisk the egg yolks and half of the sugar. Add the corn-starch. Set aside. Bring the milk and the other half of the sugar to a boil. Pour half of the milk over the egg yolk/sugar mixture whisking at the same time. Transfer the mixture back to the pot and bring to a boil over medium heat whisking all the time. Once it starts boiling, cook for two more minutes. Transfer to a hermetic container, cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold.
  • 2. Make the Easter Bread dough: Using a spatula or wooden spoon mix the milk (slightly warm), 35 grams of flour and the yeast. Cover and let it rest in a warm place until doubled in volume. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the butter, to the yeast/flour/milk mixture and knead using the hook attachment until the dough no longer sticks to the sided of the bowl. Add the softened butter in 2 additions. Make sure it has been incorporated into the dough before adding the second half of the butter. Knead until the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl, and it is smooth and shiny. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball. Let it rest for 2 hours, covered in a clean bowl.
  • 3. Shape the bread: Press down the dough with your hands to release gases, and shape into a ball again. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Using your elbow, yes you read right! Make sure it is clean! make a hole at the centre of the easter bread. Place a greased small ring or circular cutter in the whole to help hold its shape. Cover with a loose piece of plastic wrap, and let it raise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.
  • 4. Prepare the egg wash: Whisk all the ingredients in bowl then strain over a fine mesh sieve.
  • 5. Bake the Easter Bread: Paint brush with the egg wash and bake at 180 C/360 F for 40 minutes, or until golden. Let it cool down on a wire rack at room temperature.
  • 6. Decorate the Easter Bread: Whisk the pastry cream until smooth and shiny. Pipe it out on top of the Easter Bread and then top with pearl sugar. This should be done when you are ready to eat it!
If you made this recipe I would really appreciate it if you leave a rating or comment below! Also, if you share on social media please use #cookwithbelula, I would love to see what you create!
0 comments
(0)
Share
You May Also Like
0 Comments
Leave a comment and/or rating
Would you like to rate this recipe? (optional):