Toasted Panettone with Marsala caramelised apples, lindt chocolate and vanilla ice cream.
Toasted Panettone with Marsala caramelised apples, lindt chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Contributed

Is this the sweetest sandwich ever?

COLOMBA pasquale (Easter Dove), is a soft, sweet, traditional Italian bread. Colombo is like panettone (the traditional Christmas bread) but without the candied fruits. Colomba sets itself apart by being baked into a pigeon-shaped form; its texture is a moist, buttery, bready cake topped with a sugary almond icing. The dove shape is to symbolise new life in Christ, the resurrection, and the Easter message.

It was a Milanese baker Angelo Motta, who popularised panettone at the beginning of the 20th century, who created the Colomba Pasquale. Instead of the dome or cupola-shape of the traditional Christmas panettone he turned it into a dove of peace for Easter.

As well as the shape, he changed the recipe, taking out the raisins and adding a little something extra - amaretto.

If you are a fan of the light and buttery French brioche then the panettone or colomba might just be your Italian counterpart. Now I have not used Colombo in this recipe but I did have some panettone left over from my own Italian celebrations, so I decided to put together this decadent dessert or breakfast dish.

Marsala is a dessert wine discovered by an English trader John Woodhouse. It is a wine traditionally made by Sicilian farmers from Marsala in Sicily.

Toasted panettone with caramelised apples

Serves 4 sharing

INGREDIENTS: 1 tbs of organic butter; 4 slices about 1/12 cm think of Italian Panettone or Colombo; 1 packet of Lindt dark 80% chocolate (melted); 4 apples (I used granny smith) peeled and quartered; 2 cups of sweet Marsala wine; 1 cup water; ½ cup sugar; 1 stick of cinnamon; Peel of ½ a lemon; Natural vanilla ice cream

METHOD: To poach the apples, place the marsala, water sugar, cinnamon and the lemon rind into a large pot and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Add in the apples and bring the liquid to boil. Once boiled, cover with baking paper and weigh down the fruit so that it stays immersed in the liquid. When the liquid has cooled, gently remove the apples and set them aside.

Bring the marsala stock to a simmer and continue cooking until it reaches a syrup. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and return the apples to the syrup. To assemble, heat a large frypan and melt the butter. Toast the slices of panettone until golden, about 3-4 minutes, and set them onto a plate. Top the slices of panettone with the apples, the ice cream and onto the other piece of panettone spread some of the melted chocolate. Place the chocolate onto the ice cream and drizzle over more syrup.

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