Tag Archives: pandoro

Panettone and Pandoro

To me, it never feels like Christmas is coming until I open the first panettone.  In late November, the Italian delis around Sydney are filled with different varieties shipped from the big brand Italian bakeries – the more traditional with candied fruit or sultanas, or more recent varieties with flavours like limoncello cream and chocolate.  I am a bit  particular about the ones I buy, and that means mostly avoiding the ones you’ll find in the major supermarket chains. Among the mass produced ones, brands I like include Motta, Paluani and Bauli, which you’ll typically buy for $10-$15. Pay up and you’ll get something more bespoke or artisan.

There are lots of stories about the origin of panettone, including one that it was named after some bloke called Tony (“pane di toni”). In any case it is known that it originated in Milan and was always made for Christmas and New Year, with Angelo Motta becoming one of the early large producers back in 1919.  Pandoro (“bread of gold”) on the other hand comes from Verona, and, as its name implies, is a golden fluffy sweet bread without any fruit.  Typically made in a star formation, give it a shake in the bag with the provided icing sugar and it is meant to resemble snow falling down a mountain.

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If you are ambitious, you could try and make some of your own, but its a three day proving process and a real labour of love.  I’ll leave it to the experts thank you very much; but if you’re up for it, you’ll find a recipe in a book I have and really like, The Italian Baker.

I love my panettone and pandoro straight up with a good espresso.  But there are plenty of other things you can do with it, starting with making it French toast for breakfast. Slice your pandoro or panettone to the desired thickness; in a bowl beat an egg, a little milk, a little icing sugar and some vanilla extract, dip your pandoro and fry in a pan with melted butter.  Add some yoghurt and fresh fruit and dust with icing sugar.  Buonissimo.

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Then there are plenty of desserts, like this Amalfi lemon delicious with limoncello custard, recipe here.

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Or this caramelised panettone with grilled peaches, recipe here

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For a very rich and very extravagant dessert that will feed a crowd, try this blueberry, mango and praline trifle, recipe here

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A family favourite is this Torta di Verona recipe.

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How ever you have it, you can’t go too far wrong. Buon natale!

Today’s cake – Torta di Verona my way

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I love the Torta di Verona dessert at Buzo.  They haven’t published a recipe, so I thought I’d make it up.  I daresay they make their own pandoro, but I’m not that ambitious and buy it.  Consequently you can only make this around Christmas time when the pandoro arrives from Italy. I made this on Christmas Day, but prepared the blueberries and almonds the day before to make it easier; it got a big wrap. You’ll need one whole pandoro – I had a 1kg pandoro and used about three quarters of it.  Its unlikely the slices will fit your chosen bowl exactly so tear off pieces as needed to fill in gaps as you create the layers. Serves 8-10.

Blueberry Compote
250g blueberries
4 tbsp. water
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Put the water, sugar and lemon juice in a small pot and stir well to combine. Add the blueberries and cook over medium to low heat, until the blueberries soften but still have some shape. Set aside and allow to cool. Seal in a container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Sugared almonds
100g slivered almonds
1 tbsp. caster sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. amaretto (Italian liquor)
Icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 150 degrees. In a bowl, combine the almonds, sugar and amaretto and stir well. Spread out on a baking tray lined with baking paper and place in oven until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven, dust generously with icing sugar, and allow to cool. Seal in an airtight container and refrigerate until read to use.

Mascarpone cream
5 eggs, separated
5 tbsp. caster sugar
500g mascarpone cheese
50ml marsala
80ml amaretto

In a bowl, whip egg whites until stiff. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until pale, then add the mascarpone and mix at high speed. Add the marsala and amaretto, then fold in egg whites.

Assembly
Slice the pandoro into 2cm slices. Remove the outer brown crust.
In a ceramic or glass dish, place 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture, top with a layer of pandoro, another layer of cream, another layer of pandoro, then a final layer of cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Using a serving spoon, serve a portion into a bowl. Top with a spoonful of blueberries, followed by a sprinkling of the almonds.