Makes: 1 medium pandoro
Preparation time: 30-40 mins
Rising time: 2 hours + overnight + 4-5 hours the following day
Cooking time: 1 hour
Calories per serving: 405 kcal
What is Pandoro?
As the excitement of Christmas morning awakens families across Italy, delighted bambini (children) rush down in their festive pyjamas, anticipating the present-filled day ahead. What better way to kick off the festivities than cutting into a delicious slice of Pandoro alongside a steaming cup of Italian hot chocolate?
Traditionally from Verona, Pandoro is a soft, almost cake-like bread eaten around Christmas time in Italy. Dating back to the 1500’s during the period of the Venetian Republic and considered the rival of the Milanese Panettone, Pandoro is a lighter, fluffier alternative when it comes to sweet Christmas breads. Enriched using egg yolks, this delicious dessert is distinguished by its beautiful yellow dough and traditional sprinkling of icing sugar.
It was first commercially produced in Verona in the October of 1884 by the Italian pastry chef Domenico Melegatti. He was inspired by an ancient Veronese tradition, which was a leavened cake covered with granulated sugar and almonds. In his recipe he took out the sugar covering, added more egg yolks and butter to create a softer dough and thus Pandoro was invented! Due to its rich yellowy colour it was coined the “bread of gold” or “golden bread” by the rich and noble who had the privilege to try it – pan meaning bread and d’oro meaning gold which eventually morphed into the name it holds today: Pandoro
The shape of the Pandoro however, was created by Veronese painter Angelo Dall’Oca Bianca, who designed the tall, star-shaped mold with eight points which now distinguishes the iconic pandoro.
How to make Italian Pandoro
Much like Panettone, Pandoro also requires a fair amount of patience, although this recipe is simpler and has less stages than our delicious Panettone recipe.
Many recipes require a sourdough starter, or sapore madre in Italian. If you don’t have a starter, don’t worry as this recipe makes the biga – a mixture made with yeast, flour and water, beforehand and is a much quicker process.
Some recipes also make several doughs in stages whereas this version only has the biga and the main dough – but it turns out delicious! One thing you’ll find with traditional recipes such as panettone or pandoro is that no one will ever agree on what is the ‘correct’ list of ingredients and method of preparation… on that note let’s see what you think of this version!
Standing Mixer and dough hook attachment – it is possible by hand; however, the standing mixer incorporates the ingredients and air into the dough much more effectively.
750g Pandoro mold (you can find them on amazon)
*Chef’s tip: make sure your eggs are at room temperature when incorporating them into the dough. You can also use either granulated or caster sugar for this recipe.
- 60ml lukewarm water *not hot (+ 1 tablespoon extra)
- ½ tsp active dry yeast
- 95g plain flour
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- Prepared biga (doubled in size)
- 225g plain flour
- 120ml whole milk
- 100g sugar
- 1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- 170g (12 tbsp) softened, unsalted butter
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 orange or lemon (whichever you prefer)
- A pinch of salt
Icing sugar - for dusting
(Day 1) Make the Biga
- Pour the lukewarm water into a bowl and dissolve in the sugar. Then add the yeast, stir then allow to sit for about 10 minutes until it begins to froth.
- In the standing mixer bowl, add in the plain flour salt first, then add the yeast mixture (once it’s frothy) and mix using a dough hook until a dough is formed; it should look relatively smooth, but the texture will be firm.
- Once you have the dough, form into a call, place into a large bowl, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise in a warm area for around 2 hours (or until doubled in size).
- Once doubled, punch the dough down, re-form into a ball and place back into the bowl. Cover tightly with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.
- *Ensure you take the dough out at least 2 hours before continuing the proceeding steps the next day.
(Day 2) Making the main dough
- Heat the milk until lukewarm, do not boil or overheat or it will destroy the yeast. Dissolve the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar into the milk and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes until nice and frothy.
- Using the bowl from the standing mixer, add in the flour, remaining sugar, and frothy yeast mixture and mix.
- Set the dough hook on medium speed and begin to add in the egg yolks one at a time, allowing each to be fully incorporated before adding the next one.
- You should now have a very rich yellow dough.
- Add the biga into the mix and knead the two doughs together for around 5 minutes.
- Next add in the softened butter, honey, vanilla extract and orange/lemon zest into the mixer and knead on a medium-high speed for 10 further minutes. * Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl if it begins to stick.
- The dough should appear very smooth and elastic but not overly sticky, if you think it’s too sticky, simply add in a bit more flour and knead.
- Form your dough into a ball, place in a large bowl and cover with clingfilm. Allow to rise in a warm place for 3 hours or until nearly tripled in size.
- When it’s nearly reached this size, butter the inside of the pandoro tin, making sure to get into each line and crevices. Add a little flour to coat the butter by shaking it around (without spilling it everywhere!) and then shake out any excess flour.
- Time to use your fists again! Punch down the dough and transfer to your prepared pandoro tin.
- Cover loosely with cling film and allow to rise in a warm place until the dough is around 2-3 cm above the tin (1-2 hours).
- When it is nearing this height, preheat the oven to 165 degrees Celsius (fan).
Bake the pandoro
- Once fully risen, bake in the middle of the oven for 30 min.
- Reduce the heat to 150 degrees Celsius and bake for a further 20-30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. If it looks like the pandoro is gaining too much colour, cover with foil and set back in the oven.
- *If you have a cooking thermometer, the internal temperature of the Pandoro should be around 90 degrees Celsius.
- Allow the pandoro to cool in its tin for 15-30 minutes, then carefully remove from the mold.
- Once cool enough, slice a thin layer off the base of the pandoro so that it will sit flat on a cake stand or plate.
How to serve Pandoro
Traditionally pandoro is simply served with a generous sprinkling of icing sugar however it is also known to be served alongside vanilla mascarpone, whipped cream or even covered in chocolate!
Alternatively, for an extra festive twist you can slice the pandoro in thick horizontal slices, then rotate the slices slightly to form a sort of pandoro Christmas tree.
*Chefs tip: This is how Chef Roberta best likes her Pandoro, particularly when decorated with dollops of fresh cream (like the above picture)!
Love your Pandoro too much to give it away? Check out our range of Christmas gifts: from pasta making kits and gift cards to pasta subscriptions and pasta making classes, we have something for everyone!
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