Columba di Pasqua–Re-post

by Daisy

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Note:  This is a repeat of a recipe I try to re-post each year.  I want to make another one this year.  (And guard it better from certain people this time).

This is a fun Easter bread, Italian style. It’s basically just a rich egg bread decorated with almond paste and almonds but it’s the cool dove shape that makes it special. The most common version you see is baked in a mold to help with the shaping, but I’m skeptical my local grocer carries those so this is free-form. DO NOT leave unattended in a room with small children or the little heathens will pick the dove clean of the almonds.

Columba di Pasqua
makes one large loaf

1 envelope of yeast or 2 1/4 tsp.
1/4 c. warm water
1 stick (1/2 c.) butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. grated lemon peel
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
4 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup warm milk
5-6 cups flour
4 or so ounces almond paste
27 whole almonds
beaten egg white

Dissolve yeast in water in a small bowl. Beat together butter, sugar, lemon peel, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs. Add yeast mixture and warm milk. Beat in about 5 cups of the flour. The dough will be soft.
Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining 1 cup flour to make a smooth dough, about 10 minutes of kneading. Place in oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 and a half hours.
Punch dough down and divide in half. Make two smooth balls of dough. Grease a large baking sheet and flatten one of the balls of dough into an oval about 11 x 6 inches in size (wings) onto the baking sheet.

Roll out the other ball on a floured surface to form a gently rounded triangle shape about 16 in. long and 8 in. wide at the base (body and head of dove).

Lay the triangle over the oval on the baking sheet.

Fold the narrow end over to form the head.
Fold over the body to make the tail.

Pinch out a beak. Make yours more distinct than mine, which disappeared during baking.

Cut out the tail into five sections to form tail feathers.

Pinch the almond paste into 26 pieces and roll them into balls. Smush an almond into each one. Push 13 almonds into each wing section. Push ’em in good.

Push another almond into the head for an eye.
Cover and let rise in a warm place until puffy, about 30 minutes.
Brush wings gently with the beaten egg white and sprinkle them well with sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 40. minutes. This bread wants to burn, especially the “extremities” and the sugared parts. Cover it with foil after it has been in the oven a few minutes, paying particular attention to the aforementioned places. Brush body of dove (unsugared part) with butter when you take it out of the oven.

Good for dunking in coffee or milk.
One of the almonds fell off during cooking and burned to a crisp. I think it was Judas.


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Q April 21, 2011 at 9:21 am

LOVE this! I make challah each Friday and this variation looks fabulous. Can’t wait to try it for Resurrection Sunday, thank you!

KeLLy Ann April 21, 2011 at 10:05 am

lol, My kid once hijacked a whole Lemon Meringue pie I was making for Thanksgiving.

That bread just looks yummy. I’m already trying to decide if it should be Cocoa or Earl Grey to accompany it!

Pat @ Elegantly, Gluten-Free April 21, 2011 at 9:06 pm

A lovely bread! How clever to put it together like that!

Cinnamon Vogue April 4, 2015 at 2:15 pm

LOL. ” guard it better from certain people this time ” Know the feeling. But you have made me crave this stuff. Bad girl. 🙂

Sallie April 5, 2015 at 11:15 am

Silly me! I saw a big strawberry with seeds and a leaf……no dove. I guess you can tell what I am thinking about !!!

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