The traditional Italian Colomba Pasquale recipe
The Colomba Pasquale recipe is a really precious recipe that will permit you to bring some Italian traditions in your house during Easter, to share with your beloved relatives and friends.
I perfectly know that Colomba Pasquale is not a Tuscan dessert, but if you are visiting Tuscany during Easter time, you will see them everywhere if you enter in a bakery, in a grocery, in some restaurants, and for sure in every table of an Italian family if you are invited to enjoy a meal with them.
But what is a Colomba Pasquale? Literally, it means “ Easter Dove”, for its shape that has been given because of the relation with Easter celebrations. It is really a popular dessert of Italian tradition. Have you already heard about Panettone? Well, Colomba Pasquale is the Easter sister of it, almost!
Now, if you like that traditional dessert, as long as you are still in Italy you can have as much as you want…but when you are back home? It is not so common finding that cake abroad. Maybe you can find Colomba in some traditional shop of Italian goods, but I suggest you avoid the commercial versions mostly because they have an artificial taste, and as you already know, are full of preservatives. Instead, for those of you, not Italians who already know that dessert, because you tried before, or you heard about it by your Italians ancestors, you should try for sure to bake it. This Colomba Pasquale recipe is written to permit you to prepare your homemade Colomba. Even if it is a calorie bomb (478 kcal), it deserves to be eaten at least once per year.
The origins of the Colomba Pasquale
According to Motta, a famous Italian brand who has the high regard of having made so popular the Colomba Pasquale in Italy, the legend of this dessert dates back to high Middle Age in Lombardy (northern Italian region). King Alboino, after three long years of siege, during the 572 B.C Easter Eve entered in Pavia. A local old baker offered to the King this dessert with a dove shape, to calm down his anger, explaining that his tribute was a symbol of peace during Easter. The dessert was smelling of honey and oven, and it was so good and inviting, that the King agreed with a promise of peace.
Another legend says the Colomba Pasquale is related to the Longobard Queen Teodolinda and the Irish Saint abbot of St. Columbanus. When he arrived in the city, around the 612 B.C., he was received by the Lombard kings and invited with his monks to a sumptuous lunch. Despite all the game dishes of the banquet, Saint Columbanus, and his monks, although it was on Friday, rejected those too rich meats served at a time of penance, such as that of Lent. The Queen Teodolinda got offended not understanding the reason of the refuse. The abbot passed diplomacy to solve this unfortunate situation by saying that they would have eaten meat only after they have been blessed. The abbey raised his right hand in a sign of the cross and the dishes were transformed in white bread doves, white as their monastic robes. The prodigy impressed the Queen so much that she decided to include the abbot’s sanctity and to donate the land of Bobbio, the birthplace of the Bobbio Abbey. The white dove is also the iconographic symbol of the Saint and is always depicted on his shoulder.
The recent story of Colomba Pasquale recipe
During the 30’s Angelo Motta, a Milanese baker decided to take the old Colomba Pasquale recipe to design the Italian cake that everyone should have consumed during the Easter holidays. He was already producing the traditional Christmas dessert “Panettone”, and he used the same machinery, and a similar recipe to create a new dessert. He sent a sample to famous writers and journalists with a personal letter, asking to receive their impressions regarding the dessert. The Colomba Pasquale had an enormous success, and became so important to be considered part of the Italian traditions, as sign of peace and spring.