225 gmplain flour90 gmraw caster sugar40 gmsoftened butter2eggs, plus one separated2 tspdried yeast1 tspvanilla bean pasteFinely grated rindof 1 orange75 gmraisins75 gmfinely chopped dried figs30 gmeach glacé orange and cedro (see note), diced50 gmpearl sugar (see note)30 gm (¼ cup) almond meal30 gmflaked almondsTo serve:honey and mascarponeStarter110 gmplain flour⅛ tspdried yeast
For starter, stir ingredients and 90ml cool water in a bowl until smooth, cover and stand at room temperature until bubbling (12 hours).
Transfer starter to an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, add flour, 60 gm raw caster sugar, butter, 2 eggs, yolk, yeast, vanilla and orange rind and mix on medium speed until dough is smooth and shiny and starts to leave sides of bowl (12-15 minutes). Add dried and glacé fruit, mix to combine, then cover and stand until doubled in size (1-2 hours).
Preheat oven to 190C. Knock down dough and divide into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Shape the larger piece into a 30cm-long cylinder, tapering slightly at one end, and place on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Form remaining piece into a 20cm-long cylinder and lay across the larger cylinder, about one-third of the way down from the tapered end. Cover with a tea towel and stand until slightly risen (35-40 minutes).
Combine pearl sugar, almond meal, almonds, remaining raw caster sugar and eggwhite in a bowl, scatter over dough, bake for 15 minutes, reduce oven to 160C and bake until golden and cooked though (15-20 minutes; cover with foil if colomba gets too brown). Serve warm or at room temperature with honey and mascarpone.
Note Cedro is the glacé fruit of the citron tree, available from Simon Johnson, David Jones and select delicatessens. If it's unavailable, substitute candied orange peel or candied lemon peel. Pearl sugar is available from The Essential Ingredient and select delicatessens. If it's unavailable, substitute coarsely crushed sugar cubes.
This recipe is from the April 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
This sweet Easter bread is traditionally baked in a dove-shaped tin. Our version is more free-form but loses none of its tender, crumbling, sugar-crusted appeal. Serve it sliced with espresso at the end of the meal and keep any leftovers for toasting. You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.