Italian Easter Bread

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There are many forms of “Easter Breads” and every family has their own special recipe and tradition, some might be sweet and others might be savory.
In my family, Easter wouldn’t be the same without my mother and aunt making their traditional  “bostone” as they called it, Other names for this savory meat, cheese, and egg filled “pie’ would be pizza chena, Easter pizza, pizza rustica. I have no clue why they called it bostone but it’s probably because all the filling is encased within an eggy bread like dough.
This recipe is not for the faint of heart, there’s eggs galore, lots of meat and wonderful cheese, it’s meant to be made and eaten once a year, each slice is a meal in itself!
I was always told that the key ingredient in our Easter bread was the Tuma cheese, it binds everything together so well when melted, yet it still stays nice and chunky. In my area you can only find Tuma cheese at Easter time.
Many recipes you see on the web show a variety of meats used like salami or capicola and ham, but my mother and aunt always used straight up Italian sausage, preferably hot. Don’t be afraid to use hot sausage here because the filling is so dense you’ll hardly notice, it will just have a nice spiciness to it.
Where I purchase my sausage, the medium is hot and the hot is super hot, so I mixed them together and the heat was just right.
I would suggest prepping ahead of time, boiling your eggs, browning your sausage, chunking up your cheese and preparing the dough.
This recipe makes two very deep loaf pans filled to the brim, or one 9×13 deeper than normal pan, and believe me they are heavy! 
I love to slice it right from the fridge and eat it cold, other family members like to warm it slightly, either way it’s amazing and the smell just brings me back to my childhood!

Here’s the recipe.
Julie and Eileen’s Bostone

8 cups flour*** 9 eggs beaten***1T salt** 1 t. black pepper*** 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening*** water to get it to the right consistency.   Use a giant bowl and add flour, salt, pepper. Work the shortening in next, then add the 9 beaten eggs and mix until well incorporated, use water if necessary to make dough nice and smooth.
4lbs of browned hot Italian sausage, casings removed***2lbs of Tuma cheese diced, if you can’t find it use mozzarella***1 doz hard boiled eggs, chopped***2 cups of Pecorino romano***3 raw eggs*** salt and cracked black pepper. Just mix everything together in one big bowl.

Roll dough out to fit in pan and let it overlap slightly, then add your filling pressing down and adding more. Save enough dough to place on top, then roll the sides up to meet the top. Brush with egg yolk for a beautiful shiny gloss.
Bake at 325 for around 1 1/2 hours or until very golden and hollow sounding when you tap on top. Place the pan or pans on a baking sheet to cook.

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  1. The s.Serra cheese co in Clinton twp makes fresh tuma cheese. It’s perfect for this recipe 586 790 8000

  2. Just like my grams, only we use dried sausage. My dad gave me some and I made last week and the entire family said grandma would be proud. Tasted just like hers. Thanks

  3. I just found this interesting article about Tuma Cheese.
    Tuma Persa, the Lost Cheese: A recipe, missing for a century, makes a comeback.

    Happy Easter, everyone!


  5. We make this also for the holidays. 2 lbs Tuma, 2 lbs hot Italian sausage, 2 cups Parmesan romano, Fresh parsley, 10 raw eggs. We make are dough completely different, we use a Lasagna pan. we always called it Calzon. A cousin makes a different one that’s sweet. But how ever you make yours it good!

  6. Denise Brosch says

    Yes…it is almost time. This looks fabulous! OH MY! We make ours like big calzones. We use ham and pork…chunks….romano cheese….parsley….eggs (raw) and lots of minced garlic…into the dough. We make MANY to give away on the Holidays. After seeing this….I think we will make one extra special one for the house….THIS ONE!

  7. I love your Easter Bread! It looked so good we decided to make it tonight! What a treat!

  8. This looks awesome! Such a great celebration bread. 🙂

  9. Marie, Do you ever use Ricotta cheese in the Italian Easter Bread?

    • Not with this particular recipe, we always used Yuma cheese

    • I use riccotta cheese in mine and I buy pizza dough. I make it in a springform pan. It is huge and delicious.

      • Rosemary,
        My family is calabrese and our easter bread is savory. I also having using frozen pizza dough which saves
        a lot of time. I use 1 log of dough per pie rolling it to about 1/4″ thickness on parchment paper in a circle or
        rectangle. I fill only half and fold the other half over after filling is added. I crimp edges, add a rope of
        dough making a cross on top of bread. The filling is layers: provolone cheese, sliced dried italian sausage,
        sliced hard boiled egg, ricotta slices, fresh parsley sprigs, thin slices of soppresata or salami, more sliced egg
        and a sprinkle pf parmesan and shredded mozarella. it bakes at 350 for 20 to 30 mins. Brush with beaten
        egg white after removing from oven The bread is fraguna — not sure I have the spelling correct.

  10. Anonymous says

    This has been a tradition in my family but we call it Easter Pie! Isn’t Easter time without it.

  11. Can anyone give me the recipe for the sweet Italian Easter breads that were like a dry sweet cookie taste but made into pocketbook shape with the easter egg on them and braids? My granny used to make them for me with the sweet icing and colored sprinkles.

  12. Good Morning Marie- I met you a few years ago at Williams-Sonoma. I teach some of the cooking classes there and that is when I had the pleasure to learn about your blog…it has been a love afair ever since!! One of my bucket list items: to travel to italy and take a personal cooking class with one of the many wonderful “real” cooks of the region. Thanks for all you do!

  13. Jim Colello says

    My bucket list would be topped off by Sicily. Iv’e been to Italy 3 times, including Bari, But haven’t seen Sicily.

  14. That bread looks so great. I don’t see that kind of bread in the Italian restaurant in our place. I can see how tasteful that bread is and I can’t wait to put it in my mouth.

  15. Might not be lowfat but looks great! 🙂

  16. Absolutely beautiful! I think I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…until it was gone.

  17. I am so happy that I found your blog. If you lived in NY i am positive that we would become good and fast friends. We have so much in common, with our culinary likes. I’d love for you to visit my blog
    Check out our ravioli making day!

  18. Ooh, love the cross-section shot.
    Wishing you a very happy Easter my dear!

  19. This looks wonderful! I’m about to blog on casatiello myself… great minds think alike, I guess!

    Have a wonderful Easter!

  20. That’s one mean fighting machine of a loaf! I will be making some version of Pizza Rustica on Saturday – wishing I could find your cheese.

  21. This looks like a delicious Easter tradition at your home, Marie. Have a very Happy Easter!

  22. Don’t you love Easter, Marie! What a beautiful bread. My mother used to make enough to feed an army, and always used ham. I love how each family has something different they add to traditions. Buona Pasqua!

  23. Now that’s a bread I need to make. Did you get the cheese at Caputos?

  24. I’m loving this version of Easter bread. It looks delicious!

  25. Just love seeing the various versions of Italian Easter Pie. Yours looks delicious and though the filling is different, my husband’s family (Naples/Avellino) version is on the same order – eggs, ricotta, cheese, ham filling encased in a doughy crust. I agree with you, these pies are tasty either cold or warm.

    • OMG…and all along I thought my family were the only ones baking this version of Easter Pie (actually we also make it for Christmas). It’s my favorite, eggs, ricotta, cheese and sausages. Delicious….
      I was born in Avellino.


  26. Yet another brilliant job!

    Here they call the Easter bread “pizza formaggio” It’s a round loaf and it’s really cheesey bread.

    Happy Easter!

  27. Between you and Linda, I’m slowly learning more about Italian food (which I adore). So, here’s another new recipe to learn about. It’s gorgeous! This would be a lot of fun to make. I just need to see if any of these ingredients can be found where I live– hmmmm, maybe Whole Foods? We used to have an Italian market, but it closed down years ago. I miss it terribly. Happy Easter, Marie!

  28. Interesting. When someone says to me “Easter Pie” I think of my family traditional Easter Pie, which is a lot like this because the crust is very bread-like. I bake it in a square baking pan (traditional Corning Ware!) so it’s not like a bread or a pie in any tradtional sense.

    When someone says to me “Easter Bread” I think of a sweet yeast bread – more like challah – decorated with colored eggs.

    So interesting what we call thes same fods in different families and different parts of the country.

  29. Oh Thank you thank you. A guy I used to date–his whole Italian family would get together on Friday and Saturday night before Easter and make this- they made individual ones for all family members and then 2 or 3 extra loafs for drop ins. We would suffer not to eat any of them before Sunday brunch! I could never find the recipe and he’s LONG gone:)so again Thank you.

  30. I love this meat pie… many versios of pizza “gane”?
    I want someone to PLEASE send me one!

    My request has been put in.
    Thank you.

  31. Wow Marie – This looks fantastic. can I come for Easter? I’ve always made mine in a round, springform pan with soppressata, but I love this loaf pan version with sausage. By the way, maybe they called it ” bostone” because in Italian ” bastone” refers to a large stick or club. I have a feeling that generations ago, this was made not in a pan at all, but freehand, and resembled a large club. Buona Pasqua friend.

  32. This is similar to ours. Friends in Italy heled me name it. Fraguni. I’ve not heard of the cheese that you use. I was hoping not to make this as it takes so long. But my daughter said I’d be ruining Easter if I didn’t. No pressure.
    Mary Fioretti
    FYI, I’ll be in Chicago Tuesday, April 3 and 4th.

  33. A beautiful thing!

    There’ll be no fainting here.

  34. Love your recipe. It is similar to the one that my mom made with a couple of differences. She used sweet sausage and only used the raw eggs. Making that first cut out of the fridge is so exciting! I’ll trade you a slice of one of my pies for one of yours!

  35. Imbottito says

    Aww how cute,a baby timpano,;-)This looks so delicious and very rich,what a divine tradition.


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