Colomba Pasquale* (Easter Dove Bread)

We usually invite our families over on Easter for dessert. Jane makes some of her favorites, I make some of mine and some might even bring their own. There are at least six to eight things to choose from.

One year I came across a recipe for an Italian Easter celebration bread called Colomba Pasquale. It literally translates to Easter Dove. In Catholicism, the dove symbolizes peace and the Holy Spirit. The bread is often given as a gift during the Easter season to remind us of the spirit of forgiveness, love and eternal life through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Having said this, the first time I made this bread; it really stretched my limit to forgive and love my fellow family members. Why? Well, if you know anything about this bread, its resemblance to a dove in flight is not exactly as Rembrandt might have depicted it, nor any of the impressionist painters. Rather more like Jean Arp or Joan Miro. It looks somewhat like an odd, bloated, unorthodox cross with sprinkles on it. Although, I would have agreed, I knew what it was supposed to be and saw what I wanted to see, a dove.

When I told them what it was supposed to represent. There were sneers and jeers and welling laughter filling the space around me. And like an episode from the Twilight Zone, I found myself in a room filled with stand up comics all overjoyed at opportunity to come up with a new joke inspired by my bread. I was resentful. I was mad. And I wanted to tell them to... But then I remembered why I made the bread in the first place and the meaning behind it. But I have to be honest and tell you that it did bug me.

A short time later, people were enjoying their coffee and tea and began choosing their sweets. It’s usually one of each and then seconds of their favorites. As I sneaked peaks to see if anyone was at least trying the bread, I was surprised to see that my loudest and boldest critic wasn’t just eating it, but kept going back to it, like a bird that came across some road kill and was suddenly in nirvana. And in true form, devised a flight plan from bread to eating-place until all that remained of the bread was the serving plate. Even the crumbs had vanished.

To say that I felt vindicated would be understating the fact. It may not have looked like a dove but it sure did taste good.

And I thought to myself, what a wonderful world

Yes, what a wonderful world

Method: Straight dough

Mixing Time / Speed: 2 minutes / 2

Quantity: 1

Oven Temperature: 350º F

Baking Time: 20 to 25 minutes

Equipment

Timer

Mixing bowls with dough hook

Parchment

Sheet pan

Ingredients

AP Flour 3 to 3 1/2 cups

Sugar 3/4 cups

Baking Powder 1 1/2 tsp.

Salt 1/2 tsp.

Eggs 3

Butter (melted) 4 Tbsp.

Milk 5 oz.

Vanilla 1 1/2 tsp.

Eggs (hard boiled) 1

Raisins (dark) 1

Procedure:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.

  2. From a piece of parchment paper, cut out a dove shape pattern that is 12-inches long from beak to tail and 7-inches tall.

  3. In a mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix to blend ingredients.

  4. In another bowl, add 2 eggs, butter, milk and vanilla.

  5. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until it all comes together.

  6. Once all the ingredients have been combined, kneed the dough with the dough hook for 2 more minutes.

  7. Roll the dough into a 13 x 10-inch rectangle.

  8. Place the pattern on the dough and cut out the dove shape.

  9. Remove the scraps of dough.

  10. Using a scissor, cut bands in the tail section to resemble feathers.Place a raisin into the head area to make the eye.

  11. Make an egg wash with the remaining egg and brush it lightly over the loaf.Place a hard boiled egg in the middle of the body. With the scrap dough, cut 2 thin strips about 4-inches long. Cross the dough over the egg and brush it with the egg wash. Sprinkle the bread with colored non-periels and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until nicely browned and firm.

  12. Cool on a wire rack.

*Adapted from: http://www.mangiabenepasta.com/easter7

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