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
- 3.5 oz. bread flour
- 1/2 tsp dry activated yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 lb bread flour
- 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
- 3 oz. peeled almonds
- 7 oz. sugar
- 3 oz. egg whites
- 2 drops bitter almond essence
- 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
- Mix all the ingredient, put in a closed container and let raise for 12 to 24 hours.
- Mix the flour with half the water and the yolks and keep mixing until they are all well incorporated.
- 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.
- Add the starter a piece at a time and knead until well incorporated.
- Add the butter a bit at a time waiting to add more until the previous batch is well incorporated.
- Put in a bowl, cover in plastic wrap and put in the oven with the light on to prove for about 8-12 hours.
- 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.
Candied orange peel
- 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.
- 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).
- Cook the peels in the syrup until the syrup dries out. Use a low heat to avoid burning the sugar.
- Cool the peels on parchment paper and let dry out completely.
- 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.
- Mix the flour to the dough from the 1st rise.
- Add the yolks one at a time waiting for to add the next one until the dough comes back together
- 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.
- Add the butter to the dough a bit at a time until all incorporated.
- Add the peels drenched in flour and mix in the dough.
- Divide the dough into 2 pieces and let rest for about 30 minutes under a bowl.
- Place the dough in the mold and let raise for about 8-10 hours.
- 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.
- 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.
- Wait a couple of days to eat your colomba so that the flavors can fully develop.
Note: you need a good quality flour! One of the most reliable is King Arthur Unbleached Bread flour, Gold Medal… not so much…