Easter Colomba Baked French Toast, a wonderful melding of the rich and flavorful Colomba (Easter dove cake), and organic fresh eggs whisked with milk, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamon, elevating french toast with a little oven love and some amazing saskatoon berry syrup and greek yogurt. This is breakfast or brunch heaven!
Song of the day: “Diamonds and Pearls” by Prince.
Easter Colomba Baked French Toast is a wonderful recipe using Bauli’s chocolate and cream Colomba. On its own luxurious, distinct in texture and taste. Make it into a baked french toast and you have a breakfast or brunch dish that will surely disappear in minutes, only to be left with echoes of pure enjoyment.
Easter for me was always one of my most favorite celebrations of the year. The egg decorating, Easter egg hunts, and most of all people getting together for lunch. When I was young I was fascinated by the story of Jesus. I could not wait to see the movies that played on TV during this religious celebration, I even cried at the ending not understanding how people could have been so barbaric. I am not a hardcore religious person, but respect traditions and have a curiosity more on the spirituality side of things. I remember going to Bible school at this local Church where we used to live, and during Easter, we got to color paper figures representing Easter, they were pop-ups, I loved coloring them and also learning who they were and what relevance they had. I was like a sponge absorbing, editing and carrying forth in my life. Now quite a few years later and I mean a few, lol, I still am curious and always willing to learn, to make my life and the life of others around me just that little bit more joyful. Colomba means Dove, and Dove means peace, which I am a big fan of, and hey! it’s Easter, let’s celebrate! What better way to bring smiles to people’s faces than with serving them a nice hot plate of this silky, crispy, oh so beautiful Easter Colomba Baked French Toast!
I got a call from Marina from the Italian Centre Shop the other day. She asked me if Nicoletta and I could whip up another recipe for Easter. This time using a Bauli product Colomba. Without even consulting Nicoletta as I knew she would be in, knowing her love for colomba, I accepted the challenge, and some shopping at ICS was in order. Nicoletta was very excited when she heard we were using the Bauli product as we have done a recipe for them before. A wonderful Pandoro Stella, a Christmas creation that was also so lavish and full of beauty and richness. In the store, we looked and pondered which Colomba to purchase as there are many. The purest one simply with raisins and a glazed top. The more sophisticated ones like lemon cream, or fondant. But after seeing the one we chose to have dark chocolate and cream inside we were sold and the thought of a baked french toast all rich with luscious egg and spiced milk mixture creamy with little crispy bits had us salivating a bit, and Nicoletta saying “is it breakfast yet“, a line I hear a lot of as Nicoletta is a number one fan of breakfast, french toast included. To add a touch of freshness, we were first thinking of using blueberries inside, but when we went to the fruit aisle we saw these plump and wonderful figs, and blueberries soon fell from our minds. Another great find, the Saskatoon berry syrup made in Canada in a province known for its fruit. British Columbia, more specific in Summerland, located in the Okanagan region of B.C. This area is a mass region of vineyards and orchards, and because of the wonderfully hot summer temperatures, we are blessed with surreal fruit, which I feel fortunate to have access to. So all ingredients in bags we are off to our kitchen to create this Easter Colomba Baked French Toast!
When you open the package of the Colomba you immediately get the aroma of sweetness and cocoa, that alone will make you a fan of this cake. Then when you cut into it, you see its sponginess and moistness, and the best part that chocolate and cream that oozes out of the cake on each cut. This is going to be so good. I cut the Colomba (Easter Dove cake) into cubes and baked them in the oven to crisp them up a bit. I didn’t want to make this french toast too soggy and wet. The Colomba comes with a packet of cocoa sugar which you would normally sprinkle in the bag with the Ccolomba and shake it up as to coat the cake well then serve it. We used some of that cocoa sugar to dust the cubes and also to mix some in with the egg mixture, that is going to make this dish so elegant and smooth. Another thing I did was before I placed the Colomba and egg mixture into the oven I sauteed it in a pan to take up some of the moisture and to start that caramelization process. Half of the Colomba was left over, but no worries it never goes wasted and is perfect to finish off a wonderful meal, during the week.
The smell of this french toast is amazing and has me becoming a bit impatient and hungry, but I withstand my urge to dig in and into the oven it goes with some quartered figs and nice pats of butter, and also I reserved some of the egg mixture to pour in before it goes into the oven.
Taking it out of the oven has me smiling, I see all those sugars released from the figs, chocolate, and cream. The nice crispy edges as I scoop some onto the plate. I wanted to just sample the saskatoon syrup so I placed a drop on my finger, and I am so happy. This syrup is perfect for the flavors of the Easter Colomba Baked French Toast.
After tasting the french toast, I had an idea. I said to Nicoletta we need something, something fresh and creamy, not whip cream as this is sweet enough on its own, but something with a bit of acidity to cut some of that sweetness. In the fridge, I spotted our guest ingredient, creamy rich plain organic Greek yogurt. I have to tell you it added just that spark of color that made everything else shine on the plate.
The flavors of the baked french toast are amazing. The star of the show, the Colomba, spongy and moist inside and those beautifully crispy edges, not too crispy that you think you are eating croutons, but a perfect balance of crisp to moist. The figs offering that nice subdued sweetness and for those of you who love figs will know the slight crunch that comes from the interior of the fig. The chocolate and cream all melted and forming puddles with the saskatoon berry syrup, which adds that distinct stronger than blueberry flavor, and oh what fun to dip those Easter dove morsels into those puddles, and what a way to be a bit childlike on this celebration that is about rebirth and renewal. The yogurt is perfect, keeping the sweetness of this dish on the balance train, and with its acidity and slight tartness, makes for an interesting and delicious contrast in this recipe. Being Italian we know for sure that there will be a Colomba sitting on our Easter table and even some left over after the celebrations. This recipe is a great way to use up and not waste this delicious cake, and an excuse to get everyone together and feast on a wonderful breakfast or brunch, starring our Easter Colomba Baked French Toast!
Buona Pasqua! (Happy Easter everyone!)
Song of the day: “Diamonds and Pearls” by Prince.
- 1/2 Bauli Colomba (with cream and chocolate, or the one of your choice)
- 6 eggs
- 1 and 1/2 cups 2% milk
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 and 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of cardamom
- 2 Tbsp sweetened cocoa powder (comes with the Colomba)
- 6 fresh figs, quartered (or any other fruit you like)
- 2 tsp butter
- 1 tbsp peanut oil (or oil of your choice if there are allergies)
- 6 tsp organic Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup Summerland Saskatoon syrup
- Cut Colomba into cubes approximately 3 cm in size.
- Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degree F.
- Place Colomba cubes into the oven and toast for about 10-15 minutes or until golden and slightly toasted.
- Take out of oven and set aside.
- In a large bowl beat eggs until well mixed.
- Add in milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1 Tbsp cocoa, and cardamom, whisk till well incorporated.
- Place Colomba cubes into a baking dish, pour egg mixture throughout and on top of the Colomba cubes, reserving about 20 percent for after.
- Sprinkle remaining cocoa powder over egg and Colomba mixture and toss to coat cubes well with both the eggs and cocoa.
- In a large sauté pan, heat up oil and 1 tsp butter, to a medium to high heat.
- Toss in Colomba and egg mixture and sauté until crispy edges start to form, about 10-15 minutes.
- While that is sautéing, butter a 26 cm x 26 cm ( 10 inch square) baking dish, with remaining butter.
- Take Colomba from sauté pan and place in baking dish placing it evenly throughout the dish.
- Make sure to not flatten and press the cubes to much, this will make it to dense.
- Pour the remaining egg mixture throughout the dish.
- Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes, check at around 35 minutes.
- Take a wood skewer, pierce the center and see if there is any uncooked egg mixture, if not, it is ready to take out of oven.
- Cut portions with a sharp knife and serve onto a plate with a dollop of Greek yogurt, and a drizzling of the Summerland Saskatoon syrup.
- Ready to serve.
If you don't fing figs or the saskatoon syrup, use what you have or can get. I am sure it will be delicious all the same. Also experiment with all the other types of colomba, be creative and have fun!