In the modern age, the Easter holiday has taken something of a backseat to Christmas in the Christian calendar. Perhaps it’s because of the allure of our Christmas gift-giving traditions, but Easter often seems to be celebrated somewhat half-heartedly these days. And that’s a real shame!
Easter is, of course, a springtime tradition with very different possibilities, from the food in season to the opportunity to dine outdoors (for those in the northern hemisphere). Fortunately, many still see it as a great time to visit friends and family, perhaps even taking a mini-break with the kids. But there’s no reason you can’t enjoy celebrating Easter at home with your loved ones, in much the same way you would Thanksgiving or Christmas.
As you already know, no celebration is complete without a good meal, so here are a few ideas to help you plan a feast to remember!
Eggs front and center
You can’t have Easter without eggs (although why they’re handed out by rabbits is anyone’s guess). Painted or chocolate eggs are all well and good, but if you’re celebrating the holiday with your family, you might be wondering if there’s a better fit for the dinner table.
It’s probably no surprise that Italy holds the answer. Torta Pasqualina is a traditional Easter pie from Liguria, a region in the north-west of the country. It’s very much like a quiche but with pastry over the top.
If you’re not yet familiar with making pies or quiches, start with this simple vegetarian Torta Pasqualina recipe. You could also leave it uncovered if you prefer, but maybe don’t introduce it as Torta Pasqualina if you have Ligurian guests!
The recipe is easily adaptable and it’s quite common to add cubed ham or lardons to the filling mixture. But if you’re really looking to make an impression this Easter season, try this eye-catching variation:
Instead of preparing the filling mixture with all six eggs, use just two. Pour the mixture into the crust. Flatten it and then form four holes with the back of a spoon. Break the four remaining eggs into the holes (one in each) and then close the pie with your pastry top. Once cooked, each slice of the pie will reveal a firm, fully formed yoke. It’s a cute nod to the season that will make your guests’ eyes light up!
Rack up some compliments
Of course, for some, Easter just isn’t Easter without a show-stopping meat centerpiece. Lamb is emblematic of the springtime and a seasonal favorite across much of the world.
Lamb's ribs aren’t just a succulent cut, they can also look stunning in the middle of your table. When making this rack of lamb recipe, it’s well worth spending a little time on presentation, even if it just means keeping a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme aside to garnish. You’ll make a big impression presenting this whole and cutting it at the table, as you would traditionally do with a bird or ham at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The recipe also gives directions for recommended vegetables—fried potatoes, leeks, peas, and green beans. If you prefer, you could also roast the potatoes and leeks with carrots while the lamb cooks (oven space permitting, of course), or simply steam the leeks, peas and green beans for a healthier balance. Unless you want to keep the vegetables separate from vegetarian or vegan guests, serve the whole rack of lamb on top of them.
Treat yourself—and others
No celebration is complete with dessert of course, so here are two sweet treats that are easy to make.
Let’s start with these Easter cupcakes because they work equally well as a simple dessert, party snack, or part of a light brunch—so it doesn’t matter how you’re celebrating! If you’re looking to save time and effort over the Easter period, doubling the recipe should satisfy your family’s seasonal chocolate cravings throughout the holidays. Of course, you can also replace the decorative chocolate eggs with sprinkles or other adornments to serve these at any time of year—but who doesn’t love those chocolate eggs in the candied shell?
Don’t neglect the importance of cupcake cases to deliver that additional “wow” factor. If you’ve got time, it’s worth making these unique by finding the right cases online or in your local cooking or gift store. Bunny, chick, egg, or lamb designs are guaranteed to work, of course, but don’t be afraid to get creative!
Easter bread also makes a great centerpiece for dessert, as the bread label is somewhat misleading. These fruity cakes are the perfect addition to more traditional Easter feasts.
That doesn’t mean they have to be boring though, as this gluten-free Easter bread attests. Even if your guests aren’t wheat averse, you need not to be put off by the gluten-free label. The rice and tapioca flours are plenty firm without containing any actual gluten, making them the perfect wheat substitute for recipes like this. The addition of gelatine keeps it both soft and solid, making it incredibly easy to slice and serve.
If you feel like taking a break from the norm, you can also top this Easter bread with a tasty frosting!