I didn't have any dove paper pans to make the traditional Columba di Pasqua; I had heart pans. So, this year, I made Cuore di Pasqua...and I blended the recipes for a traditional buttery brioche and a traditional Columba.
1/2 C warm water
5.9 oz package almond paste (in the baking aisle of most grocery stores)
6 extra-large eggs*, at room temperature
4-1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 t sea salt
10 T butter, at room temperature
splash of olive oil
*We were so happy use our Fogline Farm eggs for this special bread!
Combine the water and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Let bloom for 5 minutes. Add the eggs and pinches of almond paste and beat on medium speed until well mixed. With the mixer on low speed, add 2 C of the flour and the salt and mix for 5 minutes. With the mixer still on low, add the remainder of the flour and mix for 5 more minutes. Scrape the dough into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
This is what the dough looked like after 17 hours. Let the dough come to room temperature, leaving it on the counter for an hour. Stir in 10 T of butter and whatever dried fruits and nuts you want to use. I used 1 C dried cherries and 1 C raw pistachios.
Place your dough in your baking pans and let rise for 2 hours. During the last 15 minutes of the rise, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and make your topping.
1/2 C organic granulated sugar