BY CINDY DEACHMAN
What with bunnies, hens, and eggs, Easter puts us in very good spirits. Of course, a little chocolate never hurts, right?
Ditch the theory that Easter eggs symbolize new life. Eggs in general might, but Easter time is another story — and a prosaic one. Because eggs aren’t allowed during Lent for the fasting faithful, they have to be gobbled down beforehand. Then, when Easter is at hand, eggs can be eaten to one’s heart’s content.
Special Easter treats are on the menu too. Sicilians sculpt darling little sheep, called pecorelle di pasta reale, sheep of marzipan. Over here in Canada, we can’t get enough hot cross buns. But don’t forget the chocolate!
Spring is on its way. At least, so the maple trees are forecasting, as their sap begins to stir. And we get to reap all the benefits: maple syrup, maple sugar, maple leaves, maple fudge. And, of course, sugar pie, the recipe for which, wrote cookbook writer Madame Jehane Benoît in 1978, “is almost as old as Canada.” As for pâtissier David Leluan of Les Plaisirs Gourmands sont simples, he makes his simply with eggs, cream, and brown sugar. Come Easter time, he adds the traditional maple syrup. The filling comes in a shell of buttery pâte sucrée, with a pretty dusting of icing sugar finishing the edge. Leluan’s pie is sweet, but ever so creamy too. And if you enter the door of Les Plaisirs’ place of production on rue St-Louis early in the morning, you might be lucky enough to find the pies coming straight out of the oven. $10/four portions; $15/six portions; $20/eight portions.
Les Plaisirs Gourmands sont simples, 59, boul. St-Raymond, Gatineau (Hull sector), 819-771-4761; 835, rue St-Louis, Gatineau (Gatineau sector), 819-205-2299.
Various Bunnies, Eggs, Carrots
Sitting in the nest are your gorgeous Easter eggs. The insides of which you’ve blown out — maybe. Or painstakingly painted them — um, not really. Truth to tell, you’ve bought your eggs, and they are chocolate-filled. But only the best, of course! And specially chosen at one of Céline Levo’s three shops. Check out either the Glebe’s or Westboro’s Truffle Treasures. Or Cococo on Dalhousie Street. All kinds of rabbits there — one with her cute little kit, one pushing a wheelbarrow, and another self-satisfied with his huge Easter egg. There’s a couple who’ve just gotten married, the young girl in her spring frock. And lots of eggs. There are even chocolate shells that open to reveal … more chocolates! And these are exceptionally smooth, rich chocolates. Now time to fill up that basket for the kids. But don’t forget to buy extra. You wouldn’t want your cupboard going bare, would you? Priced accordingly.
Cococo, 256 Dalhousie St., 613-241-7111; Truffle Treasures, 769 Bank St., 613-230-3859; 314 Richmond Rd., 613-761-3859.
Hot Cross Buns
“We like to have seasonal bread for celebrations,” says Yael Matte, co-owner of True Loaf. The tradition of slightly sweet, slightly spiced buns was brought over from Great Britain. Since 2010, when True Loaf started baking these little loaves, the recipe has changed. “We had trouble [finding] the ultimate hot cross bun.” Matte and her husband, baker (and co-owner) Patrick Graham, had to fiddle, for sure. Now they’ve found the winning recipe. Graham enriches the dough with butter and eggs and adds allspice as well as cinnamon. Then in go the candied peel, currants, and cranberries. For the past 60 years, bakers have piped their crosses with icing. But Graham prefers the old way, using a mixture of flour and water (the “crossing paste”) to paint on before the buns are put in to bake. Upon emerging, they’re brushed with a thin honey glaze. Yes, these are the ultimate — and available only from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. So get ’em while they’re hot! $2.
True Loaf Bread Company, 573 Gladstone Ave., 613-680-4178.