My family doesn’t have much of an Easter tradition. When I was younger we would have an Easter egg hunt, with beautiful hand-painted wooden eggs that my mother made. She painted a few more every year and now we have quite a collection. I’m an only child, though, so in the last few years, unless my younger cousins are visiting, we don’t do much. This year my father hid a few of the eggs for me and my mother to find, which turned out to be pretty difficult, since he literally buried a few under dead leaves in the garden.
I remembered Pepa talking about the bread her mother made for Easter. While Pepa is a very talented lady and I’m sure would be great at cooking if she tried, she mostly isn’t interested, and was shaking her head about how long her mother spent making this bread. I think she said something like, “I can go to the store and buy it and it looks exactly the same!” Her only concession towards the benefits of home-made was that the baking bread made the whole house smell good.
With this in mind, I set out to try to make some Bulgarian Easter bread. I really had no idea what kind of bread Pepa’s mother made, so I settled on Cozonac. The dough had so much butter, egg, and sugar in it that it almost felt like cookie dough! After the initial rise, I divided it into thirds and rolled each third into a rectangle with a rolling pin. I then spread cinnamon, coconut flakes (not very European, I know), flax, sesame, black caraway, sunflower, poppy, and anise seeds on the dough and rolled it up. Each of these rolled up pieces became one strand of a braid. I let the braided dough sit in the refrigerator overnight, and in the morning my mother brushed it with egg whites, sprinkled some more seeds on the top, and stuck in the oven. Voila, our Bulgarian Easter breakfast! It was pretty tasty, so it might have to become a tradition.