Sometimes our worlds collide. You think of your home life in it’s own bubble, work in another. Traveling in yet another, friends again another area of your life. But more often then not, these worlds come together in the most amazing ways – mostly because of who you are and your interests.
This is exactly where this recipe lies. At a crossroad of so many things: traditions, travelling and memories. When Bauli – a purveyor of great traditional Italian bread items – contacted me to offer a couple Italian Colomba breads for Easter – I got excited. I hadn’t had a Colomba di Pasqua in a couple of years, since my father’s parents had passed. They bought one, or a few, each Easter.
This traditional bread – much like a panettone at Christmas – is baked in the shape of a dove to represent peace and is served up at Easter for religious remembrance. Growing up, I always thought it was a misshapen cross (I knew there was religious significance in there somewhere). Over the years, the tradition and the softness and sweetness of the bread made it part of my best Easter memories. And Bauli’s La Colomba, with it’s pink Easter box, was always part of Easter.
La Colomba is great on its own but in this recipe, I give in a slight Australian – yes, Australian – twist. Years and years ago my family visited Australia and while we were struck by just how much it felt like home, we were also in awe of the amount of Italians there – just like us in Canada. What I know now, and my blog readers tell me often, is just how similar the experience of Italian-Canadians, Italian-Americans, Italian-Australians, and Italian-Argentinians are (all the countries which were accepting immigrants from the 1940s onwards). In Australia we also fell in love with lamingtons, an icing coated sponge cake that is often rolled in coconut. So when faced with an abundance of Colomba di Pasqua in the house, I turn the dove-shaped bread into an international dessert that reminds me of so, so many things: my grandparents, my traditions, my traveling, and the experience of all my readers across the world.
This is the recipe for soft squares of La Colomba di Pasqua, dipped in a chocolate icing spiked with almonds, and served up like a small cake of its own. It’s Easter made even more special by mixing old and new memories and coming up with something new.
La Colomba di Pasqua Almond Lamingtons
1 Bauli La Colomba
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa
4 cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
20 roasted unsalted almonds
Original flavour La Colomba has a slight almond flavour and is studded on the inside with dried fruits and on the top with almonds. I kick that almond flavour up a bit (plus I love chocolate and almond together).
Cut the Colomba into small rectangles or squares. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and add in the milk to warm it through (do not boil it). Meanwhile, sift together cocoa and icing sugar. Mix the butter/milk mixture into the cocoa and icing sugar and whisk together until smooth. Stir in almond extract.
Using two forks, dip the Colomba pieces into the chocolate icing, allowing the excess to drip off before placing them on a piece of parchment paper to firm up. Top with an almond immediately.The icing will create a slightly crisp and sweet outer chocolate and it will also seep into the bread itself. Let the Colomba pieces rest for 1 hour before moving them to a serving platter.
This post was sponsored by Bauli. As always, however, the opinions about this product are my own.