Last year, we spent the better half of March traveling throughout Italy. It was apparent that Easter was near since every single forno and grocery store, had Easter goodies on display.
From specially baked breads to chocolate Easter eggs, the stores were decked out in preparation for Easter!
Colomba di Pasqua
But, what was most addicting, and a “must-have” for the kids was Colomba di Pasqua or Colomba Pasquale (which translates to ‘Easter Dove’ in English).
This traditional Easter cake is the counterpart of the two well-known Italian Christmas desserts, panettone and pandoro.
This delightful sweet bread, which we found to be similar in taste to King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread, is shaped in the form of a dove. Traditionally, a dove has been used to represent peace, and is synonymous with its Italian meaning.
We learned that Colomba di Pasqua is most often eaten in Italy as part of Easter brunch or dinner. In fact, many European countries, have similar traditions surrounding the use of bread during the Easter holiday. Traditionally, the practice of eating Easter bread or sweetened “communion” bread can be traced back to Byzantium and the Orthodox Christian church.
How It’s Made
The dough for the cake is made in a similar manner to panettone, with flour, eggs, sugar, natural yeast, and butter. However, uncommon to panettone, it usually contains candied peel, and no raisins.
The dough is then fashioned into a dove shape and is then topped with pearl sugar and almonds before being baked. Some manufacturers produce other versions including a popular bread topped with chocolate.
The Colomba di Pasqua was first commercialized by a Milanese baker and businessman, Angelo Motta, as an Easter version of the Christmas speciality panettone.
When the kids reminisce about their time in Italy, the Colomba di Pasqua is the first dessert cake they remember. In fact, they are looking forward to baking one once we get back from Japan. Here’s the recipe we’ll be using: Colomba Pasquale (Easter Dove Bread).