Italian Easter Dove
3 1/4 to 3 3/4 C. all-purpose flour (divided)
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 package rapid-rise or fast-acting yeast
1 T. freshly grated lemon zest
1 t. salt
1/2 C. 1 percent milk
1/4 C. butter or margarine, cut up
1/4 C. water (70 to 80°F.)
1/2 C. almond paste (3 1/2 oz.)
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
1 egg, separated
1/4 C. slivered almonds
1 whole clove
To make dough: In large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, lemon zest and salt.
Heat milk, butter and water until very warm (120 to 130°F.); stir into dry ingredients. Stir in 2 eggs and enough remaining flour to make soft dough.
Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 5 to 7 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
To make topping: Combine almond paste, flour and egg yolk (reserve egg white); knead 5 to 6 times or until smooth. Form into 1/2-inch balls; set aside.
To shape and bake dough: Divide bread dough in half. For wings, roll 1 half into 10-by-5-inch oval. Arrange in center of greased large baking sheet, curving ends downward.
For body, roll remaining half of dough into a triangle 15 inches high and 6 inches wide (at base); place on center of oval. Fold over top third of triangle from left to right; shape to form dove head.
Fold over bottom third of triangle from right to left to form tail.
With sharp knife, slash wings and tail at 1-inch intervals to form feathers.
Lightly beat reserved egg white; brush on dough. Arrange almond-paste balls, 1/2 inch apart, on body, tail and wings. Press 1 slivered almond into each ball. Press clove into head for eye.
Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack.
Bread machine method: (For 1 1/2- and 2-pound bread machines.) Using 3 1/4 cups bread flour and 2 teaspoons rapid-rise or fast-acting yeast, add ingredients into bread machine pan in the order suggested by manufacturer. Process on dough/manual cycle.
When cycle is complete, remove dough to floured surface. If necessary, knead in additional flour to make dough easy to handle.
Proceed as directed above to make topping and shape and bake dough.
Makes 1 loaf.
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