Yotam Ottolenghi’s Easter recipes

March 25, 2018

Yotam Ottolenghis Easter recipes An indulgent Easter menu of slow-cooked lamb, chocolate-orange monkey bread and a sweet, cheesy dessert

Like many other religious festivals, with their food traditions that stand on very feeble historical legs, Easter is, for me, simply an excuse to eat things I wouldn’t normally indulge in. Chocolate-soaked bread? I’ll have that as a morning snack. A rich shoulder of lamb with lots of lemon and mint? That’ll be my main. And for dessert? A Middle Eastern cheesy bake soaked in cardamom sugar syrup. Feel free to pick and choose when you’re doing the big shop for next weekend, but I’ll be having the lot. Happy Easter.

Chocolate and orange monkey bread (pictured above)

Monkey bread is an enriched sweet bread made with lots of pieces of soft, sugar- or syrup-coated dough all stuck together, and you eat it by tearing apart the warm, gooey, soft bread, much as a monkey might. If you don’t have a large bundt tin, improvise with a 28cm cake tin with an upturned bowl in the middle, to create a hole in the centre. The loaf will keep for two days, but it needs reheating before serving.

Prep 10 min
Cook 3 hr (including proving)
Serves 12

200ml whole milk
90ml water
40g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter, plus 10g extra, melted, for greasing
1 tsp vanilla essence
7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
280g strong white bread flour
280g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
¾ tsp salt
100g dark chocolate chips

For the sauce
135g unsalted butter
120g soft dark brown sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
80g golden syrup
2 tbsp Dutch processed cocoa powder

Gently warm the first five ingredients in a small saucepan on a medium heat for a minute or two, until the butter is almost melted and the milk is tepid – take care not to overheat the mixture, otherwise you’ll kill the yeast. Turn off the heat, then whisk in the yeast and set aside for 15 minutes, until slightly frothy.

Put both flours and the salt in the bowl of a free-standing mixer with the dough hook in place, add the yeast mixture and knead for three minutes; start on the lowest speed and increase to medium, pausing every now and then to scrape down the sides so you incorporate all the flour. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and spread it out slightly. Scatter the chocolate chips in the middle, fold over the dough to enclose them, then knead for five minutes by hand, until it is springy and soft, and the chocolate is evenly distributed. Put the dough in a large floured bowl, cover with cling-film and leave in a warm spot for 45 minutes, until it has almost doubled in size. Meanwhile, brush the inside of a large bundt tin (24cm in diameter at the top, 20cm at the bottom, 8cm high) with the melted butter.

For the sauce, put all the ingredients in a small saucepan on a medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, for three to four minutes, until the butter, sugar and syrup have melted together into a thick, rich sauce.

Roll the dough into a long sausage, then cut into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then drop them one by one into the sauce, until roughly coated all over. Put the coated balls of dough in the bundt tin, building up the layers in the tin as you go. When all the dough is coated, pour any remaining sauce over the contents of the tin, then cover and leave in a warm spot for 45 minutes, until nearly doubled in size again.

Heat the oven to 160C/320F/gas 2½. Bake the monkey bread for 35 minutes, until well risen and golden brown, then leave to cool for five minutes. Put a large plate on top of the tin and invert the bread on to the plate. Lift off the tin, leave the bread to rest and cool for 10 minutes more, then serve warm.

Slow-cooked lamb shoulder with mint and cumin

The
The Easter main: slow-cooked lamb shoulder with mint and cumin. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian

Marinate the lamb overnight if you can, so the flavours really seep into the meat, and give it four hours at the very least. If you’re planning to eat this on the day of cooking, you’ll have to get going first thing, because it needs six and a half hours in the oven, but it’s fine to be cooked a day ahead, then kept in the fridge, ready to be shredded and warmed up in its own juices.

Prep 12 min
Marinate 4-12 hr
Cook 6½ hr
Serves 4-6

2 lemons, zest finely grated, to get 1 tbsp, then juiced, to get 4 tbsp
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp paprika
½ tsp fenugreek seeds, lightly crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
25g mint leaves
15g coriander
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 large lamb shoulder (about 2kg)
1 celeriac, peeled and cut into 3cm-wide wedges (850g net weight)
5 large carrots, peeled and cut in half, widthways (600g net weight)
2 whole heads garlic, cut in half widthways

Put the lemon zest, lemon juice, crushed garlic, spices, herbs and oil in the small bowl of a food processor with a teaspoon and a half of salt and plenty of pepper. Blitz to a rough paste and set aside.

Put the lamb in a large bowl and stab the meat all over about 30 times with a small, sharp knife. Rub the spice paste all over the meat, massaging it into the incisions, then cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least four hours (and ideally overnight).

Heat the oven to 170C/335F/gas 3. Transfer the lamb and all its marinade into a large, high-sided baking dish about 30cm x 40cm. Cover the tray tightly with tin foil and roast for an hour, then turn down the heat to 160C/320F/gas 2½, add the celeriac, carrots and half garlic heads (put these in cut side up) to the tray, and cover again with the same foil. Roast for another four hours, basting three or four times during the cooking time (and resealing the tray with foil each time).

Remove the foil and roast for another hour and a half, until the lamb is browned all over, the meat is falling apart and the vegetables are caramelised.

Kanafeh

The
The cheesy snack: kanafeh. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian

This cheese-filled pastry soaked in sugar syrup is hugely popular throughout the Middle East, and with good reason. You can eat it warm, when the cheese is soft and melted, or at room temperature. You will need to go to a Middle Eastern grocer to find the kadaifi pastry, or buy it online (it freezes well, so stock up). Serve kanafeh as a dessert or afternoon snack with mint tea or coffee. It’s best eaten fresh, but if you need to keep it for more than a few hours, refrigerate and reheat in the oven later.

Prep 8 min
Cook 80 min
Makes 24 slices

1 generous pinch saffron
330g caster sugar
Seeds from 10 cardamom pods, crushed (I use a pestle and mortar) – you want ⅓ tsp)
1 tbsp lemon juice
170g ghee, melted
400g kadaifi pastry
200g hard mozzarella, grated
70g Rosary goat’s cheese, or another soft variety, crumbled
70g feta, crumbled
60g shelled pistachios, roughly blitzed in a food processor

Put the saffron in medium saucepan, pour over 120ml boiling water and leave to steep for 10 minutes. Stir in the sugar and ground cardamom seeds, then bring to a boil on a medium-high heat, swirling the pan frequently, until the sugar dissolves. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice, then leave to cool.

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Brush the base and sides of a 34cm x 24cm Swiss roll tin with 10g of the melted ghee.

Pull apart the pastry so it’s not all squashed together, then pulse a few times in a food processor to shred it slightly (you may need to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your machine). Transfer to a large bowl and mix with the remaining 160g melted ghee, until the pastry is completely coated. Press two-thirds of the pastry firmly into the tin, then sprinkle over the three cheeses. Top the cheese with the remaining pastry, spreading it out in an even layer, then bake for 35 minutes, turning the tin around halfway through, until golden brown and crisp. Take out of the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

On a work surface, lay out a piece of baking paper that is just bigger than the tin, then flip the kanafeh on to the paper, so it is upside down. Carefully lift the kanafeh on its paper back into the baking tin, so it remains bottom side up.

Warm the sugar syrup on a medium heat for a minute, to thin it down a little, pour evenly over the kanafeh, then sprinkle on the nuts. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into slices and serving warm or at room temperature.

  • Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay

Read more: www.theguardian.com

About the Author

Leave a Comment: