Colomba di Pasqua: Colombapasquale or Colomba di Pasquais an Italian traditional Easter cake, the counterpart of the two well-known Italian Christmas desserts, panettone and pandoro.The dough for the Colomba di Pasqua is made in a similar manner to panettone, with flour, eggs, sugar, natural yeast and butter; unlike panettone, it usually contains candied peel and no raisins. The dough is then fashioned into a dove shape (colomba in Italian) and finally is topped with pearl sugar and almonds before being baked.
Note: Biga (Starter) should be prepared 12 hours earlier or the night before making Colomba di Pasqua.
Ingredients for Colomba di Pasqua
(Makes 1 Loaf):
For Biga (Starter):
- 1/4tsp dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp instant yeast
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp orange oil
- Zest of 1 large fresh orange
- 100 gms lemon zest, candied
- 100 gms orange zest, candied
- 100 gms marzipan, grated
- 1 large egg white
- 3 tbsp almond flour
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp sliced almonds
- 5 to 6 tbsp pearl sugar
Method for Colomba di Pasqua:
For Biga (Starter):
- Mix yeast with water to dissolve.
- Mix in flour by hand.
- Stir just until blended (no lumps).
- Mixture will be very wet and sticky.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
- One cup of this mixture will be needed for the bread.
- Combine the Biga with all of the dough ingredients except for fresh orange zest, candied orange zest, candies lemon zest and grated marzipan.
- Knead the dough mixture for about 12 minutes at medium speed, stopping the mixer every 3 minutes to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- The dough should have become elastic and satiny.
- The dough should be starting to leave the bottom and sides of the bowl, though it won’t form a smooth ball.
- Knead the fresh orange zest, candied orange zest, candies lemon zest and grated marzipan into the dough.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rise for 2 hours.
- The dough should have become quite puffy.
- Divide the dough in two pieces, with one slightly larger than the other.
- Shape one piece of dough into a 10″ log, with one tapered end.
- Shape the second piece of dough other into a 7″ log.
- Place the longest dough log lengthwise on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking tray.
- Use the edge of your hand to form a crease in the center.
- Lay the shorter log crosswise across it, right at the crease.
- Shape the shorter log into “wings” by pulling it into a crescent shape.
- Cover the shaped loaf with a lightly greased plastic wrap.
- Set the dough aside to rise until puffy, takes about 1 to 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Make the glaze by mixing the egg white, almond flour and sugar.
- Gently paint this glaze all over the loaf; be generous.
- Sprinkle with the sliced almonds, then the sugar pearls.
- Bake the loaf for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven heat to 350°F.
- Bake for an additional 20 minutes, tenting it for the final 10 minutes of baking.
- The bread loaf will be golden brown when baked.
- Remove the bread from the oven, and carefully slide it onto a wire rack to cool.
- Serve in thin slices.
- ServeColomba di Pasquaon Easter morning, or later in the day, as a sweet accompaniment to the Easter ham
- Colomba di Pasqua can be enjoyed with a glass of wine; some prefer it toasted, then drizzled with heavy cream or honey, and served with coffee.
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