Colomba di Pasqua {Easter Dove Bread}

Colomba di Pasqua

There’s a terrific cooking school in New York, the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), which along with its professional culinary program, offers hundreds of recreational cooking classes.  I’ve  enjoyed every class I’ve taken, but my favorite ones are Italian (surprise!). And my favorite Italian cooking instructor is Daniel Rosati who in addition to teaching at ICE and other U.S. cooking venues, is the owner of La Villa Cucina which offers culinary travel programs in Italy. A pro on many levels, including artisanal breads and pastry arts, Daniel is an expert on all things Italian and I always learn something new in his class.

Colomba di Pasqua doughDaniel Rosati

Last week, our program was Italian Easter Feast and we prepared several of Daniel’s original recipes including my new personal favorite – Colomba di Pasqua. A sweet yeast bread made with candied orange rind and unblanched slivered, toasted and whole almonds, it translates to Easter Dove as it’s formed in the shape of a dove….sort of. Imagination helps.

Colomba di Pasqua

In class, Daniel free formed the dough and got a bit creative with the tail and eyes using more almonds and orange peel. Or you can bake it in a paper mold (Amazon was sold out when I checked but Golda’s Kitchen in Canada ships worldwide).

It was fun and rather relaxing in a  Ihavetowaitforthedoughtoriseandcantgoanywhere kind of way. And little did I know the versatility and longevity of this luscious baby – aside from simply slicing it and eating it (warm, please), it’s even better the next day (warm again, please) and as French toast, in bread pudding or as the filling holder for a decadent sandwich.

Colomba di Pasqua

Daniel’s recipe isn’t difficult, it just takes time because the dough needs to rise. And I’m categorizing this in a new recipe category of “Wow” because you can’t help but say it when you take it out of the oven. It looks spectacular!

Colomba di Pasqua {Easter Dove Bread}
 
Ingredients
  • 2 oz. fresh yeast (OR 3 pckges of dry yeast = ¾ oz)
  • ¾ c. water
  • 1 c. milk, scalded
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 6 c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 4 oz. butter at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾. c. chopped toasted almonds
  • ¾ c. diced candied orange rind
  • Glaze
  • 1 c. sugar
  • ½ c. whole unblanched almonds
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1⅓ sliced almonds
  • Powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the yeast, water, milk and sugar and blend well with a whisk.
  3. Add 2 cups of flour and whisk until pasty.
  4. Attach dough hook. Add remaining ingredients to bowl and mix just until well blended.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, place in a warm area of the room and allow the dough to rise until doubled in volume. (Daniel’s trick is to put the bowl in another bowl of warm water to decrease the rising time-this works great!)
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured board. Divide the dough into 2 almost equal pieces. Roll each dough piece into a smooth ball.
  7. Shape the larger piece of dough into a 12″ log with tapered ends. Shape the smaller piece into an 8″ log with tapered ends. Place the larger log on prepared pan lengthwise and the shorter log widthwise. Shape into a stylized dove. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size.
  8. Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350° F.
  9. To make the Glaze – finely grind sugar and whole almonds in processor. Add egg whites and almond extract and blend for 10 seconds. Slowly spoon glaze over top of bread-you may not need to use it all. Sprinkle sliced almonds.
  10. Bake bread until brown on top and slender wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool completely on rack. Dust with powdered sugar.

 


Comments

Colomba di Pasqua {Easter Dove Bread} — 20 Comments

  1. That looks wonderful Laney! I don’t think I could pull it off so I’m buying one tomorrow, but maybe next Easter I’ll give it a try!

    • Yes, it’s that good old time thing…it’s great to make but you need to have the time to wait for the dough to rise…and I’m sure you’ll find a perfect one to buy. Buona Pasqua!

  2. This is so pretty and I love the shape. I’m always shy of making breads but I think I will have to try this one!

    • You should for sure try this one-you’ll feel so proud of yourself when you do because it will be perfect…seriously…

  3. I know a lot of time has past since Easter, but, I had to tell you. The first time I made it, I brought to a relatives house that always celebrates Palm Sunday. They went nuts. Well, since it was a big hit, I thought I would make it for my other relatives that I celebrated Easter Sunday with. Again a big wow!! I realized after making two of them, that I only had about two slices of it. So, I ended up making it the following weekend for myself. The only thing I did differently was, I divided it into 4 small loaves. Gave one away. Ate one myself (not at one time, but almost). And, froze the other 2. I’ll let you know how they are when I defrost one.

    • I’m so glad to hear that everyone liked it so much! And let me know how the small ones defrost…but it sounds like it’s time to make some more!

  4. Laney, that’s wonderful!!
    Once I would really like to join a cooking course to learn also such difficult recipes!
    ciaooo!
    Mari

    • Cooking classes are always so much fun, too…(and the recipe isn’t difficult at all, it just takes time…that’s the hard part!)

  5. That “colomba cake” looks very Italian! My compliments and lucky to all of those who can actually taste it. Wish I could!

    • Sally, you’ll have to let me know how it turns out (send a photo if you can). And if you can’t find the candied citrus peel in the store, http://www.nuts.com ships it the next day. Happy Baking! (and Passover & Easter)!

  6. We used to make this when I was a kid -in fact, I think my mom still has a metal Colomba mold. It might be a little rusty :) but I’m going to see if she’ll send it to me. Thanks Laney for the reminder about this and the fantastic recipe!

    • How wonderful that you might be able to get your hands on a colomba pan! Send a photo when you make it – I’d love to see how it looks…

  7. I just had slice, (ok, a few slices) of the Colomba di Pasqua (Easter Dove Bread).
    It was unbelievable. The texture of the bread, the orangy citrus flavor and the slivered almonds created a treat that I’m sure my family will love having on Easter Sunday.

  8. What a great flavor! I would highly recommend giving this a try. This will be a staple in our house for many years to come.

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