Giada De Laurentiis' Citrusy Cinnamon Rolls Are An Easter Treat

Anise and citrus might not be a combination we often think about, let alone try, but it appears to be an Italian classic, known as Pane Di Pasqua. The treat, per Saveur, is a braided and yeasted bread, much like challah, with a shell-on, raw egg nestled in the middle, which slowly cooks as the bread bakes. And while the egg can in fact be eaten, it may not be recommended. Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis says different versions of Pane Di Pasqua exist, per The Giadzy Kitchen, and while there might be a savory version for those who prefer that, the sweetened, yeasted bread is the one seen in most parts of the country.

De Laurentiis recalls this bread from childhood, and her Easter offer is a happy marriage of traditional Pane Di Pasqua and that most American of brunch treats, a good, hearty cinnamon roll. As they take about three hours from the time they are ready to the time they can be consumed, De Laurentiis' rolls can be refrigerated and ready to be baked before come.

Anise can be a divisive flavor

Giada De Laurentiis' mashup of the classic cinnamon roll and Pane Di Pasqua calls for a filling that might not occur to cinnamon roll fans, which brings together orange zest, ground anise, and ground cinnamon. While anise might not be too widely used in the U.S., it is used quite regularly in other parts of the world – Britannica says aniseed is the star of the German bread anisbrod. Because it is a rather heavy-handed spice that tastes of licorice and will remind you of ouzo or sambuca, Taste of Home admits anise can be a take-it-or-leave-it addition to many foods. 

If you're a bit concerned about what your guests (or you, for that matter), might think about this rather divisive spice, The Giadzy Kitchen says its flavor "mellows as it bakes, and melds perfectly with the cinnamon and the citrus." And because the pastry is blanketed with a layer of icing flavored with orange juice, we're thinking the power of citrus flavors could well give the anise a good run for its money.