Classic Italian Easter Dessert

Classic Italian Easter Dessert

The Colomba

Essteele Italian made cookware is bringing you four recipes for the perfect Italian Easter feast.

In this instalment, we look at the Colomba. This famous Lombardian dessert is actually a dove-shaped bread representing the Holy Spirit, announcing the reconciliation between God and man. Made with almonds, sugar and egg whites it also heralds the arrival offspring and is perfect to serve after a lamb roast.


  • 225 gm plain flour
  • 90 gm raw caster sugar
  • 40 gm softened butter
  • 2 eggs, plus one separated
  • 2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • Finely grated rind of 1 orange
  • 75 gm raisins
  • 75 gm finely chopped dried figs
  • 30 gm each glacéorange and cedro (see note), diced
  • 50 gm pearl sugar (see note)
  • 30 gm (1/4cup) almond meal
  • 30 gm flaked almonds

To serve:

Honey and mascarpone


  • 110 gm plain flour
  • ‚Öõteaspoon dried yeast


1. To make the starter, stir ingredients and 90ml cool water in a bowl until smooth, cover and stand at room temperature until bubbling (12 hours).

2. Transfer starter to an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, add flour, 60 gm raw caster sugar, butter, 2 eggs, yolk, yeast, vanilla and orange rind and mix on medium speed until dough is smooth and shiny and starts to leave sides of bowl (12-15 minutes). Add dried and glacéfruit, mix to combine, then cover and stand until doubled in size (1-2 hours).

3. Preheat oven to 190C. Knock down dough and divide into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Shape the larger piece into a 30cm-long cylinder, tapering slightly at one end, and place on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Form remaining piece into a 20cm-long cylinder and lay across the larger cylinder, about one-third of the way down from the tapered end. Cover with a tea towel and stand until slightly risen (35-40 minutes).

4. Combine pearl sugar, almond meal, almonds, remaining raw caster sugar and egg white in a bowl, scatter over dough, bake for 15 minutes, reduce oven to 160C and bake until golden and cooked through (15-20 minutes; cover with foil if the Colomba gets too brown).

Serve warm, or at room temperature, with honey and mascarpone.


Cedro is the glacéfruit of the citron tree. If it’s unavailable, substitute candied orange peel or candied lemon peel.

Pearl sugar is available select delicatessens. If it’s unavailable, substitute coarsely crushed sugar cubes.

If you are looking for more recipes, check out Essteele's essential Italian cookbooks and make a sumptuous bolognese

This recipe is sourced from the April 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

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