Folar – Traditional Portuguese Easter Bread

Baiao kindly shared this picture of their family Folar! This recipe also uses almonds.

Folar - Portugese Easter Bread
Folar - Portuguese Easter Bread (picture courtesy of Baiao)

Shopping at the local farmers market a couple of years ago  I could not help but notice a crowd of women gathering round a particular cake stall.

Folar - image courtesy of Fernado
Folar - image courtesy of Fernado

Curiosity eventually getting the better of me I went over to investigate and squeezed my way through to the front of the queue. I discovered the buying frenzy was for an odd-looking “cake” that had a hard-boiled egg (complete with their shell) embedded in the centre. I understood just enough Portuguese to establish it was actually traditional “bread” called Folar and was eaten at Easter. Intrigued, especially as they were literally selling like “hot-cakes”  I decided to bite-the-bullet and bought one to surprise some friends who were coming for lunch Easter Sunday. Sadly they were not that impressed as pieces of eggshell remained embedded in the bread which made for a rather bizarre gastronomic experience to say the least.

Years later I am more keen to discover  as to the “WHY” hardboiled eggs are included and the story behind it…and “HOW” to cook my own Folar.

Folar is traditional Portuguese Easter bread and contains hard-boiled eggs. The eggs apparently stem from the Pagan festival Oestre (egg) where eggs were used to symbolize rebirth. Despite regional variations such as including lemon zest, almonds or cinnamon they all contain hard-boiled eggs held in place by a cross of bread dough.

Recipe courtesy of Paws2Claws from Central Portugal. This is the recipe her Portuguese neighbour uses and kindly passed on.

400g Flour
15g Fresh Yeast or packet yeast – (fresh yeast is best and you can buy it from any Paderia (bakery))
45g Caster Sugar or Icing Sugar if you can’t get Caster Sugar
90g Butter
1 Egg
300ml Milk
1 tspn Aniseed
1 tspn Cinnamon
pinch of sea Salt
To decorate:
1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs (leave in their shells)
1 beaten egg for brushing
(Sliced almonds for decoration is not traditional)

In a bowl combine the yeast, 1/4 of the flour, a 1/3 of the milk (warmed) and half the sugar.
Mix together to form a dough, cover and leave in a warm place for 1/2 hour
Whisk the eggs with the salt and spices and remaining milk and sugar.
Kneed in the flour and egg mix to the dough gradually then kneed in the butter.
Cover the dough and leave it to rise for about three hours in a warm place.
Break the dough into two (or leave whole) and plant the eggs on top. Make a cross with two rolled lengths of dough to put on the top, holding the egg in place.
Brush the bread with the beaten egg.
Cook at 425F/Gas 7 until golden brown

I had planned to “experiment” with this recipe on Friday, but after 6 hour lunch with a group of friends meant I was not in a fit state to cook anything by the time I returned home! I am yet to attempt the recipe and photograph the result! I am unsure of the original source of the above photo but it at least gives you an idea of what the Folar “should” look like.

Further information and pictures re the “Algarve” folar can be found here

In the UK we have hotcross buns which are delicious. Why not give them a try?

What traditional food do you like to have at Easter?


49 thoughts on “Folar – Traditional Portuguese Easter Bread

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  1. I am Portuguese and make my own folares. I still hard boil the eggs but serve them on the side. The main reason is that I make a big batch and freeze some for later, and eggs don’t freeze well. Hope this helps.


  2. hi, there are diferent types of Folar. At the north of the country, the “Folar” is salty and with little pieces of meat (chorizo, ham, bacon). I don’t like the “Folar” eggs style.


  3. I enjoy your recipes. It so interesting to learn the lore and traditions of other cultures. 🙂 Your outing with your friends sounds like it was great fun. 😉


    1. Hi EC I really enjoy researching the different aspects of Portuguese culture but it’s amazing how the stories and recipes vary.
      The lunch was great fun! Not something we do on a regular basis though…


  4. Oh, hot cross buns. I love them so! Yum!
    And Easter candy is my absolute favorite. All kinds.
    Good luck making hot cross buns. I saw a recipe on Pioneer Woman, but haven’t tried it.


    1. Hi Carlaat,
      I found a recipe for hotcross buns complete with how to create the cross decoration. Just need to go and buy the yeast now 🙂 Please let me know you get on cooking yours 🙂


    1. Hi Noob we went to a little Portuguese restaurant with a group of friends and for the pricely sum of €8.51 we had couvert, soup, dish or the day, scumptious dessert , coffee and copious amounts of wine followed by a trip to the beach cafe for a sundowner. Even I could not believe we talked THAT long – but it was Friday. So by the time I returned home and studied the recipe there was no way on earth it was going to be cooked as the dough had to stand for 3hrs…

      Hey ho.
      PiP 🙂


  5. hi,

    the name is folar, not “Páscoa do Folar” (this doesn’t make sense) and is traditional from the Easter (Páscoa) festivities. There are versions of Folar without eggs. It’s a simple cake with very little sugar on it, the idea is to be simple, following the religious festivities.
    There is a nice market in S. Marcos da Serra where they sell a lot of them.
    PS-The eggs, if you want to eat them, it’s better to take out the shell first.
    I suggest the portuguese to sell the folar with instructions “how to eat”….


    1. Hi Baião,
      LOL 🙂 thanks so much! As you can see I get my Portuguese back to front and the wrong way round!! I will make the amendments now! Teach me to write something whilst under the influence! 🙂 You can see how much gets lost in translation 😦 I think personally I would prefer the folar without eggs – do you have the recipe by any chance please?


  6. Great story and I have tried that bread/cake before. We have a fairly large Portuguese community in the village next door and I, like you, bought one a few years ago for Easter. If I recall, we cut around the eggs and then removed them, tossing any bits with shells attached. Love the stroll down memory lane… great photo too 🙂


    1. Hi EO,
      I am gradually discovering their are not only some great Portuguese recipes but they also come with regional variations as well!
      Baiao has since kindly shared the photo of his family’s Fola!


    1. Yes, hot cross buns are one of my favourite Easter foods along with gooey Cadbury Cream Eggs 🙂 Unfortunately, I am unable to get either here very easily. Never mind I am going to make my own hot cross buns!


  7. Too bad about the eggshell…when I was young, I loved egg salad sandwiches but was obsessed with worry about tiny pieces of eggshell that might crunch in my mouth as I chewed…obsessed with worry because it happened all too often. 🙂 But the recipe sounds great…and the eggs we color for Easter and put in Easter baskets probably stem from the same pagan tradition…hurray for the pagans. 🙂 Without them, we probably would have no traditions at all. 🙂 Thanks for a really interesting post, PiP!


  8. The ingredients promise a wonderful loaf but not sure about the eggshell bit, am going to try this, I am guessing the egg shell prevents the eggs from drying out during cooking but crunching eggshell makes me gag too. M


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