Marrying into an Italian family you marry the traditions of cooking. In our family my mother-in-law Rosalie helps us out to make those things that her family grew up eating that her mother-in-law taught her. Each holiday has a different menu and Easter is no exception.
In our family it’s Easter Pie or Fragun season. The actual name is Fraguni but in our family somewhere they dropped the i. I did a little research on what is Fraguni and saw that many people in different regions of Italy make it differently. Some like it sweet others like it savory. We’re the savory type in the Fioretti family.
A lovely lady, Michelle Fabio an American living in Italy who is the author at bleedingespresso.com helped me find Fraguni at Italyville.com by Joe Maruca. Each is appassionato when it comes to their food and their roots.
The recipe filling is enough for one 9 x 13 pan. The bread dough that wraps the filling is enough for the Fraguni and three loaves of bread. Be prepared to spend some time at home while you make this.Printed Version: 2011 Fragun
- 1 ½ pounds of Ricotta
- 2 slices of ham cut in ¼ inch slices diced
- 1 ½ pounds cooked Italian sausage cooked and diced
- 5 extra-large hard boiled eggs
- 5 extra-large eggs
- 1/4 cup grated Peccarino Romano cheese
- 2 Tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
Hard boil your eggs and let them cool. When they have cooled off peel and cut the eggs in half, then in half again and slice the egg six times so you have small pieces of the egg. Set aside.
Dice all the meats and chop your parsley.
Using a large mixer and a flat paddle, cream the ricotta. Add one egg at a time mixing for one minute for each egg. Add in the Salt, pepper and Romano cheese. Blend well and remove from the mixer.
Fold in the meats and parsley. Lastly, add your eggs and fold them in. Cover and refrigerate.
NOTE: if your filling is overtly thick, add another egg till you get a creamy texture. When it is really thick it will be dry after it is baked making your filling crumble. If the filling is too thin, add more Romano cheese.
- 3 packages of Active Dry Yeast (NOT the quick kind)
- 5 Tablespoons of sugar
- 2 cups of eggs (depending upon the size of the egg, the # of eggs varies)
- 1 Tablespoon of kosher salt
- 5 pounds of bread flour
Dissolve 3 packages of the yeast with 2 cups of warm water (110°). Add the sugar and mix. It takes about 5 minutes for ½ inch of foam to form.
Melt the margarine in ¾ cups of water. Add ½ cup of water to cool it down.
Place all of your eggs in a 4 cup liquid measure. If you are using jumbo eggs it will take 7 eggs, if it’s extra-large 9 – YOU HAVE TO BE THE JUDGE – the only requirement is that it be 2 cups of eggs. Using a whisk mix the eggs.
It’s important to note at this point all liquids should be warm not hot as it will affect the yeast.
Using a very large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Create a well. Pour your wet ingredients into the flour and mix with your hands. Knead the dough for 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Round it up and place in a clean oiled bowl with oiled side up. Cover with a bread towel . Bless the dough and say the prayer, “May this bread rise as Christ did.” Let it rise for 90 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350°.
Knead again and using 1 ¼ pounds of the dough roll out the bottom of the fraguni on a lightly floured surface. Place in a 9 x 13 pan. The dough needs to hang over the sides so you can wrap it up when the top is in place like you would a pie.
Stir the filling then pour the filling into the bread shell and move it around to all corners of the pan. Roll out the top using 3/4 pound of the dough and place on top of the filling. As you would a pie, turn the bottom edges over the top. If you have too much dough, trim it with a knife. Take the extra dough and create 2 ropes. Twist them to make the cross. Place the ends of the cross inside the folded edge and press to the side. Make a smaller rope and create the crown of thorns and weave it into the intersection of the cross.
Make a few small slits under the cross to let the air escape. Bake for 15 minutes at 350°. Turn it down to 300° and bake for an hour. Then turn it to 275° and bake for another ½ hour to an hour – this assures that the egg mixture is thoroughly cooked.
Remove from oven and using a pastry brush with an egg wash (1 egg whisked). Return to oven for 10 more minutes.
Remove from oven. Remove the pan and place on a cutting board. Let it rest for an hour then turn it over for half an hour to make sure that you don’t have a gap at the top when you go to cut it. Refrigerate till ready to cut and serve.
BAKING THE LEFT OVER DOUGH
Using 3 one pound baking pans (8.5 x 4.5), divide the dough into 3. Roll the dough into an 8 x 8 square and then roll it up. With the seam side down, place the dough into the bread pan. Do this for the rest of the dough.
Cover with a bread towel and let it rise till double in size. Bake for 350° for 15 minutes then lower the temperature to 300° for a half an hour. Remove the breads then remove them from their pans. Using a pastry brush, brush the breads with an egg wash, tops only. Place on the center rack for 10 more minutes.
Remove and let cool. Store the bread in plastic bags.