A Special Easter Pastry

Colomba di Pasqua, literally translated as Easter Dove, is a traditional Italian dessert we eat at Easter. We love to call it the Sister of Panettone as their recipes are similar. The classic recipe is filled with candied fruit, which on the Amalfi Coast is mostly candied orange zest, and studded with almonds and sugar pearls.  During the centuries its recipe has changed a lot and many are the legends surrounding this sweet.


All the legends start in Northern Italy so we all agree that Colomba is a typical Northern Italian dessert.

People from southern Italy won’t complain as we are very competitive about pastries and we have invented the Easter Pastiera which is a must to have on our tables! But, let’s talk about the legends…

The Battle of Legnano: in 1176, during a battle between the Lombardy and the Holy Roman Empire, the leader of the Lombard League saw two doves flying and he interpreted it as a sign of victory. He later ordered the cooks to prepare a dove-shaped bread with Yeats, Flour and Eggs.

The Legend of King Alboino: during 572 BC, King Alboino of the Lombards finally entered in Pavia, after years of siege and this happened three days before Easter. A baker offered the King a dessert with a shape of dove. According to the legend, the King liked this pastry so much to promise the peace.

Queen Teodolina and the Irish Abbot: this legend talks about a group of pilgrims and the Irish Abbot “San Colombano” who arrived in Lombardy in 612 BC. The King and the Queen offered to pilgrims a delicious meal full of meat but San Colombano declined the invitation as it was time of Lent. In change, San Colombano turned the meal into a Dove shaped bread.

How Colomba became popular all over Italy

The Dessert we know nowadays is recent and its recipe is completely different from the original which is similar to bread or more simple in the ingredients.

Angelo Motta, a baker from Milan, in 1930’s had the great idea of making the Colomba the dessert that everybody should have eaten at Easter. As He was already popular for a Christmas dessert, called Panettone, He decided to use the same recipe but He changed its shape. So, Colomba was spread all over Italy by the most popular Italian Brand for Industrial Bakery.

Ingredients and preparation

I love eating Easter Desserts but I am terrible in cooking them. That’s the reason why I asked Giosuè from Bar Paradise in Positano to show me how He makes the Colomba, and I also made a video.

The ingredients are simple but its preparation is complex and it requires almost 2 days.

The base ingredient is sourdough which rises for 4 hours.
Later, the dough is mixed with ingredients such as sugar, butter and eggs and rests for 12-15 hours.
Then the dough is mixed with other ingredients and is left to rise for about 2 hours.
After this long time, the pastry chef creates the shape of a dove and leaves it to rise for another 5 hours, adds a glaze and bakes it. After baking, the Colomba cools upside down and finally it’s ready to eat!

There are different varieties of our Colomba di Pasqua. My favourite one is the one with white chocolate and pistachio glaze.


Look at my video:


A Special Easter Pastry - Zia Lucy