|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 54g||69%|
|Saturated Fat 29g||147%|
|Total Carbohydrate 63g||23%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||15%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Christmas in Italy wouldn't be complete without two classic cakes, the panettone, from Milan, and its sister cake, the pandoro from the northern Italian town of Verona. Like panettone, pandoro (meaning "golden bread") has a light, fluffy, yeast-risen golden interior and a brown outer surface. However, unlike panettone, it does not contain candied fruit or raisins, which makes it the preferred Christmas cake of many. Pandoro also looks like a Christmas tree—a towering, star-shaped cake topped with snow-white powdered sugar.
Because the sweet and buttery cake is so simple, commercial versions often contain some sort of filling, such as limoncello or chocolate cream. Most Italians prefer to buy commercially produced pandoro from their local baker or supermarket as it is difficult and time-consuming to make, requiring four separate lengthy risings and three resting periods after being rolled out. If you are an accomplished and devoted baker, however, making it at home can be quite rewarding. You'll need a high-sided pandoro mold (the molds used in Verona are about 10 inches/25 cm high, 8 inches/20 cm across at the top, tapered, and star-shaped in cross-section, usually with 8 points). The pan can be purchased online, but if you cannot find a pandoro mold, a similarly tapered cylindrical mold will have to do.
- For the Cake:
- 2/3 ounce/20 grams active baker's yeast
- 2 cups/250 grams all-purpose flour (divided)
- 5 egg yolks (divided)
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon/110 grams granulated sugar (divided)
- 2 sticks/200 grams unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1 whole egg
- 1 lemon (zested)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup cream
- For the Mold:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- For Serving:
- 1/3 cup/30 grams powdered sugar
Gather the ingredients.
Crumble the yeast into a large bowl and combine it with 1/3 cup of the flour, 1 of the egg yolks, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar, plus enough water to make a soft dough. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
Sift 1 1/3 cups of the flour onto your work surface and combine it with 1/4 cup of the sugar. Place the risen dough on top; add 3 egg yolks and 3 tablespoons of the butter. Knead well and then shape the dough into a ball.
Lightly flour a large bowl, add the dough, and cover it with the cloth. Set aside to rise again for another 2 hours.
Combine the remaining 1/3 cup flour and remaining 1/4 cup sugar on your work surface and work it into the dough together with the whole egg and the remaining egg yolk. Knead the dough well until it is homogenous; put it in a floured bowl, cover it with a cloth, and let it rise for another 2 hours.
Flour your work surface and return the dough to it. Add the lemon zest and the vanilla extract, then knead in the cream a little at a time until it is completely absorbed.
Spread the dough out on your work surface and shape it into a rectangle using a rolling pin. Cut the remaining 13 tablespoons of butter into small bits and distribute them over the center of the sheet of dough.
Fold the sheet into thirds, and then roll it out again. Let it rest for 30 minutes, and repeat this folding and rolling 2 more times.
Preheat the oven to 400 F/200 C. Butter and flour the cake mold; turn it upside down and tap it gently to remove excess flour.
Shape the dough into a ball and put it in the mold; it should fill the mold about halfway. Cover the mold with a cloth and put it in a warm place to rise until the dough reaches the top of the mold, about 20 minutes.
Bake the pandoro for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 F/180 C and bake for 30 minutes more.
Unmold the pandoro immediately and cool it on a rack.
Before serving, dust it with abundant powdered sugar.
Slice the cake into 8 pieces and enjoy.
How to Store
Pandoro should be wrapped in plastic wrap and place in a zip-top bag. It can be kept at room temperature for up to 7 days. For longer storage, wrap tightly and place in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator before toasting or heating up.
You can make your pandoro more festive looking by adding a flavorful filling and colorful decorations. Begin by slicing the cake horizontally into 5 pieces. Then spread a creamy filling, such as sweet lemon mascarpone or lemon curd, onto each layer, arranging the cake layers on top of each other at an angle so the points alternate (it will look like a Christmas tree). Feel free to add nuts like pistachios to the filling for crunch, and chopped red fruits or whole berries along with fresh mint leaves to the top for color.