Colomba di Pasquale: Italian Easter Bread

This beautiful Easter bread from northern Italy will be the perfect addition to your Easter breakfast table
Colomba di Pasquale

Photo Modified: Flickr / Nicola / CC BY 4.0

This panetonne-style bread is studded with dried fruit, and glazed with sugar and almonds. It’s delicious drizzled with heavy cream or honey, and enjoyed alongside a strong cup of coffee.

This recipe is courtesy of King Arthur Flour.

10
Servings
352
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Ingredients

For the overnight starter

  • 1 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup cool water
  • 1/8 Teaspoon instant yeast

For the dough

  • 2 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1/3 Cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/8 Teaspoon orange oil
  • 1 large orange, zested
  • 1 Cup dried fruit

For the topping

  • 1 large egg white
  • 3 Tablespoons almond flour
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 5 Teaspoons pearl sugar

Directions

For the overnight starter

The night before you want to make the bread, mix together all the ingredients for the overnight starter in a medium bowl. Cover the bowl with a tea towel, and leave to sit at room temperature for 15 hours.

For the dough

The next day, combine together the bubbly overnight starter, with the flour, salt, instant yeast, sugar, butter, eggs, egg yolk, and orange oil. Using the dough hook on your electric mixer, knead the dough for about 12 minutes at medium speed. Stop the machine every 3 minutes to scrape the dough off the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl. When the dough has been kneaded enough, it will be elastic and satiny, and will be starting to leave the sides and base of the bowl. It won’t be forming a smooth ball.

Knead in the orange zest and dried fruit until evenly dispersed.

Cover the bowl with a tea towel, and leave it to rise at room temperature for 2 hours.

Divide the dough in 2 pieces, 1 slightly larger than the other. Shape the larger piece into a 10-inch log with a tapered end. Shape the smaller piece into a 7-inch log.

Place the 10-inch log lengthwise on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using the edge of your hand, make a crease in the center of the dough. Lay the shorter log crosswise over the longer one, covering the crease in the center.

Shape the shorter log into the dove’s wings by pulling both end of it into crescent shapes.

Cover the shaped loaf with a tea towel, and set aside to rise at room temperature until it’s puffy, about 1-2 hours.

For the topping

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Make the topping by mixing the egg white, ground almonds, and sugar together. Generously paint this glaze all over the risen dough. Sprinkle the almonds and sugar on top of the glaze.

Bake the loaf in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Cover the loaf with foil and bake it for a further 10 minutes. The finished loaf will be golden-brown.

Remove the bread from the oven, and place it on a wire rack to cool.

Once cooled, serve in thin slices, with the option of drizzling it with heavy cream or honey.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
4g
6%
Sugar
5g
6%
Saturated Fat
1g
4%
Cholesterol
2mg
1%
Carbohydrate, by difference
70g
54%
Protein
8g
17%
Vitamin A, RAE
14µg
2%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
5mg
7%
Calcium, Ca
117mg
12%
Choline, total
8mg
2%
Fiber, total dietary
3g
12%
Folate, total
126µg
32%
Iron, Fe
5mg
28%
Magnesium, Mg
20mg
6%
Manganese, Mn
1mg
56%
Niacin
5mg
36%
Phosphorus, P
98mg
14%
Selenium, Se
24µg
44%
Sodium, Na
114mg
8%
Thiamin
1mg
91%
Water
39g
1%
Zinc, Zn
1mg
13%

Italian Easter Shopping Tip

Italian food is about simplicity and letting the ingredients shine. So make sure you get ingredients that are great quality and flavor. Farmers markets and specialty stores will have great produce and products. Just be sure to have some great olive oil.

Italian Easter Cooking Tip

Unlike other highly regarded cuisines, Italian cooking is usually simple to make with many dishes having only 4 to 8 ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation.