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colomba-recipe-italian-thumbColomba, One of the best risen cakes it’s an Easter speciality made from flour, butter, fresh eggs, sugar and candied orange peel, all covered in a rich hazelnut glaze. Originally intended as a cake symbolising peace, over the years it has become a traditional part of Easter.

The first story tells that after the city of Milan defeated Emperor Fredrick Barbarossa in the 12th century, two doves appeared over the city. Colomba pasquale commemorates the event and victory that took place. The second version is that colomba pasquale derives from Pavia, a city near Milan, during the time when Alboin conquered the city. It is said that he took a number of precious jewels and girls to do with as he pleased. All but one of the girls sobbed and cried at their fate. This girl, when called to his room, took along a delicious sweet bread in the shape of a dove, made with eggs, candied fruit, yeast, sugar and flour. Alboin was pleased with what she had brought and set her free.
Colomba Pasquale’s name comes from the Italian word for pigeon because it is vaguely in the shape of a flying bird, and it’s Italy's answer to the traditional British simnel cake decorated with flowers and chicks. So, if you're looking for something differnt, starting to taste an original italian flavor a couple of weeks before your wedding in Italy, this is the best Easter Dove italian recipe.

How to prepare it


For the sponge

1 1/4 cups (300 cl) milk, warm
3 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups (210 gr) all purpose flour

For the dough

4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups (300 gr) sugar
12 tablespoons (165 gr) butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon vanilla
2 oranges grated rind
2 lemons grated rind
4 1/4 cups (600 gr) all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (250 gr) raisin
3/4 cups (150 gr) candied fruit
1/2 teaspoon orange extract

For the glaze

1/2 cup (100 gr) blanched almonds
1/2 cup (100 gr) sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch
2 egg whites
1/2 cup (100 gr) sliced or whole almond
powdered sugar for decoration

Let's start. Whisk the yeast into the warm milk, then sift in the flour and combine it slowly with a spatula. At last, cover all with plastic wrap.
Set aside in a warm corner for about 30 minutes, that encourage the growth of yeast. 
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the eggs, the yolks, and the sugar. Whisk in the butter, salt, vanilla, orange rind, lemon rind, orange extract, and add the flour at last. Turn on the electric mixer on low speed to combine all with a paddle. Bring back the sponge and spour off into the bowl. Run the paddle on low speed until for two or tree minutes until the dough is smooth. Add the raisin and candied fruit (if you like it, of course...). Run again briefly.
Now, we have to take a buttered bowl where to transfer the dough, covering with plastic wrap. Set aside to rise for at least 1 hour or until double in volume.
When the dough is ready, remove from the bowl and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Push and work lightly the dough to deflate, adding the minimum flour necessary, and keep the dough sticky. With a buttered dove-shaped pan. Add a strip of parchment paper across to facilitate removal of cake. Transfer the dough to the pan and spread uniformly. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise again, for about 1 hour or until double. Preheat oven 375 F (190C). Place the almonds and sugar in a food processor fitted with metal blade. Run the blade until finely ground. Place in a bowl and combine the cornstarch and egg whites.
When the colomba is ready, drow up the glaze on top carefully with a spatula, cover on top with sliced almond and the powdered sugar.
Bake to 375 F (190C) for about 20 minutes or until golden. Taste for readiness inserting a toothpick. The cake is ready when the toothpick comes out dry and the surface is golden brown.



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