Per 6 servings for the dough
1 lb all-purpose flour
½ oz fresh yeast
3 oz sugar
3 oz lard
1 half cup water
1 half cup anise liqueur
half lemon zest, grated
salt to taste
1 whisked egg
egg, per ring
Begin by preparing the starter (biga in Italian), which will improve the leavening of the dough. To make the starter, mix together 1/3 of the flour, the yeast and water in a bowl. Mix until smooth and uniform. Then shape the starter into a ring and, to make it rise quickly, place it in the bottom of a bowl of hot water so that it is completely covered.
In the meantime, use the remaining dough to make a well on a flat work surface. To the middle, add the sugar, salt, lard and grated lemon peel.
As soon as the starter floats to the top of the bowl, it has finished rising. It can now be removed from the water and placed in the center of the well with the other ingredients. Also add the eggs and anise liquor. Mix everything together for a long time, preferably using a mixer, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Shape the dough into a ball and dust with flour. Let rise in a glass bowl, covered with a sheet of plastic wrap, in a warm place for about half an hour.
Once the dough is done rising, divide the dough into as many cakes as you would like to make. Roll each piece into a long, thick log.
Shape each log into the form you prefer (a ring, an eight or a braid). Place the raw eggs (in their shells) in the middle of any holes in the dough.
Place the rings on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with sheet of plastic wrap or and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes in a warm place.
Once the dough is done rising, brush it with whisked egg and bake in a 400° F overn for 40 minutes or until golden.