Puppets with Eggs  

Pupa cu l’ova 

 

Spring Equinox marks the end of winter and the time to prepare for the new season, to care for the lands and to do all necessary planning for that time of year. 

This event was celebrated with the sacrifice of lambs to the gods to gain their blessings to the land and to the seeds planted in the ground; also eggs imbedded into bread, were offered to the goddess of fertility to favor for new life to come into their families. 

These traditions go back to the Vikings in the north of Europe to the Babylonians, Persians, Armenians, Jews, Germans, Vikings, Greeks and Romans. 

 Easter EggsChocolate Rabbits

In Sicily, miniature lambs, made of marzipan or chocolate are prepared for this occasion along with chocolate rabbits representing fecundity. 

Eggs the pagan symbols of fertility are now offered to the children on Holy Saturday imbedded into bread, called “pupa cu l’ova”, puppet with eggs. This tradition is well alive at the present times. The pupa cu l’ova are eaten for breakfast on Easter Sunday and the following mornings until all puppets with eggs are finished. 

 

Pupa cu l'ova

 

There are two ways to make pupa cu l’ova: one version using bread dough, one version with pasta frolla, Italian shortbread. 

 

BREAD DOUGH PUPPETS

 

Prepare 2 ½ lb. of bread dough and follow the preparation directions to follow. 

 

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SWEET PASTA FROLLA DOUGH PUPPETS

 

 

INGREDIENTS  

·   1 lb. all purpose flour. About 5 cups 

·   7 oz. or 1 cup sugar less 2 tablespoons  

·   2 tablespoons of honey 

·   ½ lb. or 1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature) 

·   2 egg yolks 

·   2 whole large eggs 

·   1/2   teaspoon baking powder 

·   Pinch of salt 

·   6 drops of vanilla 

·   zest of one lemon 

·   1 egg for egg washing, beaten with a tablespoon of water 

·   1 cup of flour to dust or to add if needed 

·   6 soft boiled eggs 

 

Makes 6 Pupa cu L’ova 

 

PREPARATION  


The Boiled Eggs 

Eggs must be at room temperature. Place the eggs in saucepan and cover with cold water; do not add salt. Gently bring the water to a boils. Remove from the heat and set on the side for 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to place the eggs in a dish until ready to use them. 

 

The Dough
Make a well with the flour, place in it and combine sugar and butter. 
Add eggs, salt, baking powder, honey, and lemon zest.  Mix all ingredients with the help of a fork and then using your hands knead to bring dough together. If mixture is too dry add a few tablespoons of water, if too watery add some flour.
Do not over mix. Do not handle dough more than necessary. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
Prepare pans: grease and dust with flour a cookie sheet or cover with parchment paper. 

 

The Puppets
Cut dough in 2 pieces and each pieces in 3 parts. Knead dough to make each piece compact and shape into a ball. Take one piece at a time and divide into 2 pieces. Place 1 piece into a prepared baking sheet, shape into an oval and flatten it: this will form the body of the puppet. Place 1 egg in the body of the pupa and take a small amount of the reserved dough, form 2 thin ropes and set on top of the egg and press into the body of the puppet. Use the remaining dough to form the head, legs and arms; egg wash and use raisins or other dry fruits, nuts, candy, sprinkles to decorate and make the mouth, eyes, hair etc... 

 

Make other puppets with the other 5 pieces or shape into baskets, braids or other figures. 

 

The Baking
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until cookies are a golden color.