Christmas in Italy means Panettone or Pandoro. There’s a huge rivalry between the supporters of these two traditional sweets and very often people who like one will tell you they dislike the other.
As a child, I was definitely on the Pandoro’s team. Even though I have always liked sultanas (I used to eat them straight out of the jar where my mum kept them!), I was not that keen on the candied fruits that abound in Panettone. I guess Pandoro has a more delicate taste that children usually like more.
If you also want to give Panettone a try, here is my recipe!
Nowadays, I gladly eat both, as my dislike for candied fruits has vanished… hahaha But Pandoro will always have a special place in my heart.
Whenever I smell vanilla scented powder sugar, I get transported back in time (and space) and I see myself in my parents’ kitchen reaching for the box of Pandoro, ready to add the icing sugar on it and dig in! Yummmm! That will always be the “smell of Christmas” to me.
Pandoro literally means “Golden Bread” and it is a specialty from the city of Verona in Veneto.
I find Pandoro here in Australia… it comes straight from Italy. However, as I like to attempt making home-made versions of all my favourite foods, here goes my home-made Pandoro.
The recipe is not hard, but it is time-consuming and requires a digital scale. There are 2 versions of Pandoro recipes: an easy one which yields a cakey result and this one which gives you a more traditional Pandoro that is flaky, airy and decadent. This version requires some layering and a technique very similar to the one used for making puff pastry. The result is so good that you will forget all about the hard work as soon as you give it a bite!
So, tell me, how will you be spending Christmas and what is your “Christmas smell”? Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!
Enjoy and let me know how you like it by leaving a comment in the comment section below.
You can find Pandoro tins online: Pandoro Cake Pan – 10 Inch x 4.5 Inch Deep
Not available A tutorial on how to make Pandoro - a traditional Italian Christmas cake.
- 220 gms – 7 2/3 oz. butter
- 15 gms – ½ oz. honey
- 1 vanilla pod scraped
- 4 white chocolate squares melted
- 15 gms – ½ oz. fresh brewer’s yeast
- 60 gms – 2 oz. water
- 50 gms – 1 2/3 oz. flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 gms – 0.1 oz.fresh brewer’s yeast
- 2 tsp water
- 25 gms – 1 oz. sugar
- 200 gms – 7 oz. flour
- 1 egg
- 35 gms – 1 ¼ oz. beurrage mixture
- First dough
- 2 eggs
- 100 gms – 3 ½ oz. sugar
- 200 gms – 7 oz. flour
- 1 tsp salt
- Vanilla flavoured icing sugar
Put the cold butter between two sheets of baking paper and gently hit it with the rolling pin to make it more elastic.
With a fork, mix the butter with the vanilla, honey and melted white chocolate (make sure the chocolate is not hot or it will melt the butter).
Remove 35 gms – 1 ¼ oz. of this mixture and keep it in a bowl in the fridge.
Put the remaining mixture between two sheets of baking paper and gently shape it into a ½ cm thick rectangle. Put it in the fridge for 1 hour.
Put all the ingredients, apart from the beurrage mixture, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Knead well until the mixture is smooth and elastic, then add the 35 gms – 1 ¼ oz. of beurrage mixture that you had reserved in a bowl. Keep kneading, slowly, until the butter gets absorbed.
Put all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Knead well until the mixture is smooth and elastic. You will know it is ready when it stretches around the paddle attachment, like a mozzarella string stretching out of a pizza! It is going to take a while, so be patient and don’t add any flour.
Roll the dough into a 1 cm thick rectangle. Give the dough a simple 3 fold turn i.e. fold 1/3 on top of the central 1/3 and then the other 1/3 on top of it. Cover the dough with cling wrap and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough in a long rectangular shape. Position the beurrage so that it covers 2/3 of the dough as shown. Give the dough a simple 3 fold turn i.e. fold the 1/3 without butter on top of the central 1/3 and then the other 1/3 on top of it.
Press it down with your hands to seal the middle.
Turn the dough so that the closed sides of the dough are on the left and right with the join vertical. Roll until you get a 1.25 cm – ½ inch thick rectangle. Make sure to roll mostly upwards and downwards (and only a little bit sidewards).
Give the dough a simple 3 fold turn i.e. fold 1/3 on top of the central 1/3 and then the other 1/3 on top of it. Cover the dough with baking paper and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Shaping and Baking
Then fold it onto itself and form a ball.
Put it into a Pandoro tin (greased and dusted with flour), with the smoother side at the bottom (as that will be the top of the Pandoro).
Let it proof, loosely covered, for about 5 hours or at least until the dough reaches the border of the tin.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 160°C – 320°F for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 150°C – 300°F and use a pot holder to keep the oven slightly ajar. Bake for another 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Keep the Pandoro in the tin for at least 6 hours before unmoulding, to avoid the risk of deflating. I left it overnight.
Generously sprinkle with vanilla flavoured icing sugar before serving.
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