The shape of Pandoro lends itself to a beautiful Christmas tree presentation. Cut the bread into 4 or 5 horizontal slices. Place the largest slice on a serving plate and spread with a sauce or whipped cream. Place the next largest size slice on top with the points of the star between the points of the size below it. Continue up to the top. Sprinkle the points with colored sugar or place halves of candied cherries on each point. To serve, remove each slice and cut into halves or quarters.
Pandoro Christmas Tree Presentation
Pandoro or pan d’oro means ‘golden bread.’ It is a traditional Christmas bread from Verona that gets its name
due to its pleasing yellow color. The yellow or golden color comes from the large amount of egg yolks that are
in the bread. Pandoro is baked in a special star-shaped mold. Unlike panettone, pandoro does not contain
any dried fruits or nuts. When sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar, it has the appearance of fallen snow on a
Pandoro may be served with many types of creams or sauces, such as mascarpone topping, melted chocolate,
or flavored whipped cream. We have provided with you a few sauce and whipped cream recipes. Add
some berries, diced fruit, or pomegrante seeds. It can also be served with the top sliced off, hollowed out, and
filled with ice cream or custard. Pandoro can be sliced into vertical wedges or cut horizontally into star-shaped
slices. Horizontally cut slices can be arranged into a beautiful Christmas-tree shaped presentation.
Pandoro takes the good part of a day to make. Start the process early in the day. The bread requires making a sponge first and then letting the dough rise 3 more times. To achieve the golden color of Pandoro you must use farm-fresh eggs but store-bought eggs will still give you a rich, delicious bread. If you do not wish to purchase the special pandoro molds, you can bake this bread in similar size (6 x 9-inch) pans or molds.
Pandoro: The traditional Christmas bread
(Makes 2 Pandoro)
Biga or Sponge:
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
1 (1/4 ounce) package dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup flour
4-1/2 to 5 cups flour
7 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup water
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 cup apricot jam
To make the biga or sponge:
Put the warm water in a small bowl. Stir in the yeast, sugar, egg yolk, and flour. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place. Allow the sponge to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
To make the dough:
In a large mixer bowl, combine 4 egg yolks, 1/2 cup of sugar, butter, and water.
Beat on low just to combine the ingredients. Add the sponge and mix again to combine. Gradually add 3 cups of the flour, one cup at a time, blending after each addition. Increase the speed to medium-low and beat the dough for 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will be soft and a little sticky.
Grease a large bowl with butter, add the dough , and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then cover with a kitchen towel. Put in a warm place to rise for 2 hours.
Punch down the dough and make a well in the middle of it. Add 1-1/2 cups more flour, the remaining 3 egg yolks, the whole egg, the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, the lemon zest, and optional vanilla. Knead the dough in the bowl to combine the added ingredients. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.
Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and smooth. Add additional flour if necessary. Put the dough in a large greased bowl. Turn to coat the dough and again cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Let rise for another 2 hours.
Butter two 6 x 9-inch pandoro molds.
Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Form each piece of dough into a ball. Place each ball into the prepared mold and cover with a towel. Let rise for 1-1/2 hours or until dough is 3/4 of the way up the molds.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake the breads for 30-35 minutes, or until tops are brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the breads cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove bread from molds and cool completely on wire racks.
Heat the apricot jam until melted in a small saucepan. Brush the breads with the jam, then sprinkle heavily with confectioners’ sugar. Slice into vertical wedges or horizontal slices to serve.
When sliced horizontally, Pandoro will provide you with beautiful star-shaped slices. Restaurants in Italy serve Pandoro with a variety of different sauces. You can also make Pandoro into French Toast as part of an elegant Christmas Day breakfast.
MOST POPULAR DESSERTS
Sauces for Pandoro
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat cream until slightly thickened.
Add sugar and vanilla; beat until thickened.
(Makes about 2 cups)
Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
Add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon with sugar and vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
4 cups pitted Bing or sour cherries
1 teaspoon almond extract
In a large saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and cherries. Bring to a low-boil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. The cherries will begin to soften and the liquid will thicken slightly. Stir in the almond extract and remove from the heat.
Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before serving. Sauce may be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for several days.
(Makes about 2 cups)
8 ounces of mascarpone, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk or light cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Serve at room temperature.
(Makes 1-1/2 cups)
FAVORITE ITALIAN DESSERTS
THE UNIQUELY SHAPED CHRISTMAS DESSERT