Colomba – a fruitcake for Easter

Today,  Chiara of La Voglia Matta featured me on her weekly appointment Blogs Got Talent! I promised her readers, I would await them with a slice of Colomba and a cup of tea to comfort them after the long trip from Italy. So here is the recipe for Colomba.

First let me give credit where credit is due. I got the recipe from Teresa’s blog who got it from Assunta. I only made minor changes and of course translated the recipe in English for all of you.

So let me tell you about Colomba. Colomba is a fruit cake similar to Panettone, which is traditionally eaten for Easter. Colomba is usually relatively shorter than panettone and is covered in an almond glaze. It tastes delicious.

Just like panettone, colomba is a rich bread with eggs, butter and candied orange in the dough. Hence the dough is relatively hard to work with. I would suggest you not to try it if you don’t have a Kitchen Aid or some other good mixer. On the other hand, with a Kitchen Aid it ends up being very manageable!

One of the hardest thing for me was to find pearl sugar and candied orange peels. Finding the peels turned out to be so hard, that I eventually made them from scratch and when I decided to make the 2nd colomba, I just went with a nontraditional chocolate chip colomba just to avoid making the orange peels again. Why are orange peels so hard to find???

Anyway, I will be eating the two Colombe with friends on Easter, but it is really hard to resist!

Colomba – a fruitcake for Easter

Colomba – a fruitcake for Easter

Ingredients

    starter
  • 3.5 oz. bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp dry activated yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1st rise
  • 1/2 lb bread flour
  • Starter
  • 3 yolks
  • 2.5 oz. sugar
  • 3.5 oz water
  • 6.5 tbsp melted butter
  • Candied orange peel
  • 10 organic oranges
  • about 7oz. sugar
  • about 7oz. water
  • Icing
  • 3 oz. peeled almonds
  • 7 oz. sugar
  • 3 oz. egg whites
  • 2 drops bitter almond essence
  • 2nd rise
  • 3.5 oz bread flour
  • 2.5 oz sugar
  • 3 yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 1tbsp honey
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 7 oz. candied orange peel
  • 2 drops orange essence

Directions

    Starter
  1. Mix all the ingredient, put in a closed container and let raise for 12 to 24 hours.
  2. 1st raise
  3. Mix the flour with half the water and the yolks and keep mixing until they are all well incorporated.
  4. Dissolve the sugar in the rest of the water and add it to the mix. Knead well until dough is uniform and comes together in a ball.
  5. Add the starter a piece at a time and knead until well incorporated.
  6. Add the butter a bit at a time waiting to add more until the previous batch is well incorporated.
  7. Put in a bowl, cover in plastic wrap and put in the oven with the light on to prove for about 8-12 hours.
  8. Icing
  9. Blend the almond with the sugar until you get a flour like mixture. Mix the almond mix with the egg withes and add the almond essence. Refrigerate until needed.
  10. Candied orange peel
  11. Using a potato peeler, peel the oranges and dice the skin. Boil some water and use it to blanche the orange peel. Drain the orange peel and repeat the blanching process 3 times.
  12. Weight the orange peel and make a simple syrup using 1 part water and 1 part sugar. You should use as much sugar as the weight of the peels (i.e. for 7 oz. of peel use 7 oz. of sugar and 7 oz. of water).
  13. Cook the peels in the syrup until the syrup dries out. Use a low heat to avoid burning the sugar.
  14. Cool the peels on parchment paper and let dry out completely.
  15. The mold
  16. To cook the colomba, you should use a low paper mold shaped like a dove (well is more like a cross, but use your fantasy). As it is basically impossible to find, my super BF built a mold for me using aluminum foil and parchment paper. You can copy his design from the picture.
  17. 2nd rise
  18. Mix the flour to the dough from the 1st rise.
  19. Add the yolks one at a time waiting for to add the next one until the dough comes back together
  20. Dissolve the sugar, honey and the salt in the water and add it to the dough a bit at a time waiting for the dough to come back together before adding more water.
  21. Add the butter to the dough a bit at a time until all incorporated.
  22. Add the peels drenched in flour and mix in the dough.
  23. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and let rest for about 30 minutes under a bowl.
  24. Place the dough in the mold and let raise for about 8-10 hours.
  25. When the dough is risen, cover with the icing using a pastry bag with a flat tip. Decorate the icing with pearl sugar and peeled almond.
  26. Bake in the oven at 375F until golden brown about 45 minutes. Let the colomba in the switched off oven for 10 more minutes to dry out.
  27. Wait a couple of days to eat your colomba so that the flavors can fully develop.
  28. Note: you need a good quality flour! One of the most reliable is King Arthur Unbleached Bread flour, Gold Medal... not so much...

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23 Responses to Colomba – a fruitcake for Easter

  1. Wow, you made your own colomba mould!!!! IMPRESSIVE! This recipe sounds amazing! I will bookmark it for next Easter!

  2. beti says:

    I wouldn’t mind to have fruit cake for easter, it sure looks delicious

  3. lenia says:

    Che bonta!Buona Pasqua,carissima!Un bacione forte da Grecia!

  4. Pola, I’m so impressed! Nicely done. And the fact that you also made your own candied orange peel is even more impressive – Hai fatto di necessità virtù! 🙂 Happy Easter to you and your readers.

  5. Frank says:

    We used to buy a colomba every Easter, of course, when we were in Italy. But I never attempted to make one myself. Color me impressed!

  6. So impressed that you made a homemade colomba! I also searched all over for candied orange peel, in our case for a pastiera napoletana. I found some online from Barry Farms which worked out well – here’s their website http://www.barryfarm.com/candied_fruit.htm. Now, if we only could have found ricotta di pecora!

  7. a parte il fatto che non è affatto brutta, io temo che la farina usata sia troppo debole. Pero’ aspettiamo rossana, che l’ha fatta in america e le e’ venuta bene. 🙂

    • PolaM says:

      Direi che e’ tutto merito dei tuoi consigli! Aspetto di sentire cosa mi dice Rossana sulle farine Americane: io non ci ho ancora capito nulla!

      • Ecolo, pola. Rossana ha risposto ieri, in coda al post: “A tale proposito, volevo consigliare a Pola M, che come me abita negli Stati Uniti, la “Unbleached Bread Flour” della King Arthur. Ho provato tanti tipi di farine classificate per pane ( a piu’ alto contenuto proteico) e questa, tra quelle comunemente disponibili, mi ha sempre dato ottimi risultati.”
        Piu’ la guardo, comunque e più penso che la farina non fosse adatta. E lo dico perché la prima volta che ho provato questa ricetta ho usato la Caputo rossa. Un’ottima farina, ma ho buttato due colombe. Se hai bisogno di altro aiuto, chiedi pure. Oppure magari vi metto in contatto direttamnte nel forum, dove potrete dialogare direttamente. Buona giornata e buona pasqua.

      • PolaM says:

        Grazie mille! Anche io ho fatto un po’ di ricerca e la King Arthur sembra dovrebbe andare… Anzi moh lo metto pure nella ricetta!

  8. Kiri W. says:

    Wow, what an interesting bread! I love the shape, very creative! 🙂

  9. I love learning about new foods and holiday traditions. This is a new one to me, but sounds really good. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Daniela says:

    E’ deliziosa la tua colomba, complimenti. Buona Pasqua Daniela.

  11. Simone Woods says:

    Wonderful. I will make this for easter. Thank you!

  12. I have never heard of this bread before Paola. I love it that every time I visit your blog I discover something new and delicious!
    Have a Happy Easter!

  13. alida says:

    Buonissima!I am going to pig out on this soon. Homemade though is much better, a real treat. Buona Pasqua carissima!

  14. Chiara says:

    che bella colomba Pola, ne è rimasta una fettina?Sono felice di averti ospitato nel mio blog…Ti auguro una felice Pasqua, a presto, un abbraccio !

  15. What a lovely colomba! This reminds me of Easter so much 🙂 Happy Easter Pola!

  16. I love how you got the shape of the colomba. Buona Pasqua, I have a little something for you on my blog!

  17. Federica says:

    che bella!!!!!!!!!!!baci e buona pasqua!

  18. Ramona says:

    I love panettone… so this will be just as delicious! 🙂 Yum!

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