Pandoro is a popular Italian sweet yeast bread traditionally served around Christmas holidays. Usually a Veronese product, pandoro is customarily shaped like a frustum with an 8-pointed star segment.
It’s usually served dusted with vanilla sugar made to look like the snowy peaks of the Alps in Italy during Christmas. Pandoro is a very delicious dessert (similar to Panettone) which you can serve with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, or Nutella. Try the recipe:
For the starter:
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 packet (1/4-ounce/2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
For the cake:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
To serve (optional):
- Nutella (or other hazelnut spread)
- Whipped cream
- Mascarpone Cream
- Toasted nuts
For the starter:
- In a bowl of a stand mixer, apply all ingredients and whisk gently to incorporate. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, around 80-90 minutes.
For the cake:
- Grease a large bowl with butter; leave aside.
- Apply 1 1/2 cups of the flour to the starter and, use the hook attachment on a stand mixer to mix on low until combined, around 1 minute. Place 1/4 cup of the sugar and mix until combined, around 1 minute. Put 3 of the egg yolks, whisking until each is combined before adding the next. Place half of the butter pieces, one or two at a time, waiting until each is entirely incorporated before applying the next. Upsurge speed to medium; knead until dough is stringy and stick, around 3-5 minutes more.
- Apply the dough in the prepared bowl and use a plastic wrap to cover it tightly; allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, around 90-120 minutes. Clean the mixer bowl.
- Next, carefully apply risen dough in the bowl of the stand mixer. Place remaining 1/4 cup sugar, remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, remaining 3 egg yolks, vanilla extract, the whole egg, salt, orange zest. With the mixer on low speed knead until incorporated, around 1 minute. Place remaining half of the butter pieces, one or two pieces at a time. Upsurge to medium speed and knead until dough is stringy and sticky, around 5-8 minutes more.
- In the meantime, coat a large bowl with butter. Add dough to the prepared bowl. Use a plastic wrap to cover tightly, and allow to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, around 190-120 minutes.
- Using a pastry brush, coat well a 9-cup pandoro mold with one to two tablespoons melted butter. Sift flour into the mold to coat and tap out the excess (ensure to get all of the angles in order to prevent any sticking).
- Then, remove the risen dough from the bowl and place to the prepared mold. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the dough is around a 1/2 in. from the top of the pan, around 1 hour. In the meantime, heat the oven to 375°F/ 190°C/Gas Mark 5, and apply a rack in the lower third.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then decrease the heat to 325°F/ 160°C/Gas Mark 3 and bake until the bread is dark golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, around 20-25 minutes more.
- Cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes. Then, remove the cake from the pan and allow cool completely on the rack, around 1 hour.
- Before servings, slice it (see photo) and decorate it like a Christmas tree (if desired). Dust some powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream/Nutella/Mascarpone cheese/nuts – if desired.
Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo!