Osimo’s Easter Cheese Bread

La Crescia Pasquale di Osimo

Preparation info

  • 1

    Cylindrical Loaf of Easter Cheese Bread
    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Marcella Cucina

By Marcella Hazan

Published 1997

  • About

My husband and I accepted an invitation, one Easter, to spend the holiday weekend in Osimo with Carlo and Carla Latini, the producers of Italy’s best-tasting spaghetti and other factory-made pasta. Osimo is in the heart of the Marches, a pastoral and hospitable land in central Italy that climbs up the Apennine mountain range on the west while it rolls out to the Adriatic shore on the east.

Every day of that Easter weekend at the Latinis’ we had a delicious cheese bread called crescia, which we ate as an appetizer at table or snacked on in between meals. It looked as though it had been baked in a flowerpot, narrow at the base and expanding curvaceously at the top. I had no such container when I worked on it later at home, but I was satisfied with the results I obtained from using both a charlotte mold and a narrow, high springform pan used for making panettone, the Milanese Christmas-cake.

The crescia tasted wonderfully cheesy and I saw that there were pieces of Swiss cheese distributed within it, but it also had the flavors of other cheeses that I learned were Parmesan and a local, mellow pecorino, sheep’s milk cheese. The latter is considerably mellower than Romano, the one Italian sheep’s milk cheese most commonly available in North America. If you have no alternative, use Romano, but if you can find either a good Tuscan caciotta firm enough to grate or fiore sardo, a Sardinian pecorino, both of which are less pungent than Romano, you should choose those.

My husband, Victor, who, with his morning espresso, prefers things that taste of salt rather than sugar, suggested we have crescia for breakfast, and it has proved very satisfying. It is also nice to serve before dinner with a glass of wine—Verdicchio if you want to do it in authentic Marches style.