Pandoro is a specialty bread from Verona, usually made at Christmastime, straight through to Epiphany or Little Christmas. This basic recipe may also include dried fruits, nuts, or chestnuts.
- 4 1/4 ounces high-gluten flour
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 small whole eggs
- 9 ounces high-gluten flour
- 1/2 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 13 Tablespoons butter
- 3 extra large whole eggs
- 1 extra large egg yolk
- vanilla essence
- lemon zest
- Dissolve yeast in the warm water.
- Add in three quarters of the flour.
- Mix with a rubber spatula.
- When the flour is nicely absorbed, turn the dough out onto your work surface.
- Knead by hand, adding a little flour at a time.
- Once you get a smooth dough, shape it into a ball.
- Place the ball in a non-reactive bowl (not plastic or aluminum).
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
- Let it rise until it doubles in volume (60 to 90 minutes).
- Put the starter dough in the bowl of your stand mixer (you may knead by hand if you have the strength and the patience).
- Add the flour, the sugar and half the beaten eggs.
- Start mixing slowly, but steadily.
- Add the rest of the beaten eggs, a little at a time.
- Knead for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is smooth, and elastic, and is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl.
- To facilitate this operation you may stop the mixer halfway through and remove the dough from the sides of the bowl and from the hook with a rubber spatula.
- Once again, make a ball and let it rise in a clean, non-reactive bowl, away from any drafts, possibly at around 77 degrees F. and tightly covered, so it doesn’t form a tough skin on top.
- Let dough rise until it doubles in volume (about 60 to 90 minutes).
- Add flour, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla and zest to the first dough.
- Knead it for a few minutes in the bowl.
- Add beaten whole eggs a little at a time.
- Don’t worry if the whole thing looks like a big mess at this point. If you use King Arthur high-gluten flour, it will slowly absorb the eggs and then will start to come off the sides of the bowl
- Even during this step you can stop the mixer after a few minutes and remove the dough from the sides and hook and turn it out onto a floured surface.
- When the eggs have been absorbed, add the butter slowly in little pieces at room temperature.
- Keep kneading for 30 to 40 minutes until the butter is completely absorbed and the dough comes off the sides, smooth and very elastic
- Flour the work surface and your hands (or grease hands and surface with butter instead).
- Fold the dough onto itself 2 or 3 times then.
- Grease the pandoro baking pan with butter. (Do not use cooking spray.)
- Put the dough into the pan, smooth part facing the bottom.
- Gently brush the top surface well with very soft butter, so it doesn’t form a skin.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
- Let dough rise until it reaches the edge of the pan (2 to 3 hours, depending on the temperature).
- Adjust the racks in your oven to allow for the height of the pandoros. Then, pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Carefully place the pandoro in the oven, watch that the pan doesn’t bump into anything, so as not to ruin leavening.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes depending on the oven.
- Depending upon your Pandoro form, the cake should rise close to the edge. In an Italian-made form, it will rise over the edge.
- Turn the pandoro out onto a cooling rack and let it cool completely.
- Remove from oven and let it cool for 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle the surface with confectioner’s sugar or decorate as desired.
- This cake is always best eaten the next day as the flavor has time to really come forth.
- Should you wish to store it and eat it a few days later, let it cool completely and place it into a ziplock bag or any plastic bag you can seal tightly, so it doesn’t dry up.
This is a very classy dessert, and worthy of a fine Prosecco or Champagne.
The leftover bread makes an outstanding bread pudding or French toast.
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