Easter Dove

Colomba Pasquale (Easter Dove), is a soft, sweet, traditional Italian bread. Colombo is like Panettone (the traditional Christmas bread– but without the candied fruits. Colomba sets itself apart by being baked into a pigeon-shaped form; its texture is a moist, buttery, bready cake topped with a sugary almond icing. Fluffy, moreish and melt-in-the-mouth.

The dove shape is to symbolize new life in Christ, the resurrection, and the Easter message. It was a Milanese baker Angelo Motta, who popularised panettone at the beginning of the 20th century, who created the Colomba Pasquale. Instead of the dome or cupola-shape of the traditional Christmas panettone he turned it into a dove of peace for Easter. As well as the shape, he changed the recipe, taking out the raisins and adding a little something extra – amaretto. The rich, springy sponge is pricked with cubes of candied orange peel and topped with crunchy sugar and almonds.

Both breads are fantastic, traditionally eaten fresh and in winter warmed in the oven or near an open fire. Colombo and Panettone are bought wrapped in clear plastic bags and boxed in often elaborate colourful boxes depicting their shape and also an image of what the centre looks like. It can be purchased from many delicatessens and some bakeries that specialise in Italian breads.

If you are a fan of the light and buttery French brioche then the Panettone or Colomba might just be your Italian counterpart.

Now I have not used Colombo in this recipe but I did have some panettone left over from my own Italian celebrations, I decided to put together this decadent dessert or breakfast dish. I say breakfast or dessert as it would work in both genres. So with the use of some simple ingredients, Sicilian sweet Marsala wine and an healthy appetite here is my recipe.

View the recipe for Toasted Panettone with Marsala caramelised apples, Lindt chocolate and vanilla ice cream Recipe

Dessert to start the day

It seems that the food fashion is heading towards starting the day with what is usually the end of the night’s rewards and restaurants alike are serving up guilt laden delights for all occasions even breakfast.


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We all know that breakfast is the most important part of the day and if whole grain muesli, egg white omelets and sour dough 12 grain toast is getting a little stale in your morning menu then head to some of our finest venues for a little heart starter. Of course nutritionist are going to say that this is not the ideal way to start the day but in moderation and every now and then it’s healthy to change things around as long as you continue the day with high protein healthy meals and of course a little exercise.

For a real hit you can simply head to Putia Pure Food Kitchen for a great coffee and a mouthwatering Chocolate waffle, mulled red wine poached pears, spiced syrup,mascarpone. So challenge your taste buds, get out and enjoy. Here is my recipe on a breakfast idea that’s sweet, fruity and with that all-time favorite creamy finish for you to try at home.

Apples baked with olive oil and oranges with pine nut pastry and whipped ricotta

Serves 6
Shake up this dessert by adding some fresh figs to the apples, grated 80% dark chocolate to the pastry and a heady vanilla bean or rich Lick ice cream to finish it off.

3 large granny smith apples sliced into 1 ½ cm rounds
2 tbsp. extra virgin Olive oil
1 tbsp honey
Zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp orange marmalade
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger

For the pastry
30g pine nuts
25g flaked almonds
1 tbsp Bertolli olive oil, extra
5 sheets of filo pastry

350g firm fresh ricotta
2 tbsp caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla paste
½ cup pouring cream
2 tbsp marmalade extra
¼ cup water

Preheat the oven 200c

Place the olive oil, honey, marmalade and spices in a bowl with the orange zest and whisk to combine. Toss the apple slices into the mix and then place onto a tray lined with paper and bake for 10 minutes until softened. Remove from the heat; if you want a little more colour place the apples under a griller. Set the apples aside keeping the marinade.

Toast the almond flakes and the pine nuts for 4 minutes until golden.

Lower the heat to 180c
Blend together the nuts until crushed.
Add the tablespoon of extra olive oil into the left over marinade from the apples. Using a pastry brush the marmalade, oil and honey mixture onto each sheet of pastry and scatter over some of the crushed nuts, sit the pastry on top of each other until all sheets are done, scatter over any remaining nuts, then slice the sheets into 6 strips and onto a tray lined with baking paper, place the strips in a fold so that concertinas onto its self. Bake for 10 minutes until golden. Place the ricotta, caster sugar, vanilla and cream into a food processor and blend until smooth, heat a small saucepan with the marmalade and the water and simmer until reduced and slightly syrupy.

To serve place down a pastry, top with a slice of apple, some of the ricotta and then another slice of apple, drizzle over some of the syrup and serve.