The Italians are the undisputed masters of dessert breads, and pandoro definitely does not disappoint. It’s the less famous sister of panettone; there’s no dried fruit, just gently scented sweetness, and an impossibly soft and fluffy crumb. To me, this is heaven. And it’s especially good with whipped cream and sharp fruit.
You will need a sourdough started to make this recipe. If you don’t already have one, you can find our how to make it here.
- 20 ml sourdough starter
- 80 ml warm water
- 80 g bread flour
- 80 g warm water
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 80 g bread flour
- 1 medium egg
- 20 g sugar
- 40 g warm water
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 150 g bread flour
- 40 g unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
- 40 g sugar
- 1 medium egg
- 1 medium egg yolk
- 200 g unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
- 4 medium eggs
- 200 g sugar
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp orange extract
- 350 g bread flour
- 25 g unsalted butter (for greasing)
- 300 ml double cream
- 50 g icing sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 300 g raspberries
- 25 g icing sugar (to dust)
- In the evening, mix the sourdough stater in the warm water, until it is completely dissolved.
- Add the flour, and mix until evenly combined. Cover with cling film and set aside overnight.
- In the morning (about 12 hours later), pour the warm water into a small mixing bowl, and add the yeast. Sprinkle the flour over the surface, then add the egg and sugar.
- Whisk everything together thoroughly, until the mixture is smooth. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside until doubled in volume – which will probably be a little over an hour.
- Immediately start making the first dough.
- Pour the warm water into a small mixing bowl and add the yeast, then sprinkle the flour on top. Add the melted butter and sugar, then finally the egg and egg yolk.
- Use a spoon or your hands to bring the dough together, and work for about a minute, just to ensure everything is evenly incorporated and there are no dry patches of flour. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside, for about an hour.
- When the sponge is big and bubbly, you are ready to start making the second dough.
- Melt the butter first, so it has plenty of time to cool down before you need to use it.
- Place the eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and orange extract into the large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, and mix them together on a medium low speed using the paddle attachment until they are well incorporated.
- Add the Starter, which has risen overnight, and mix again on a medium low speed until well incorporated.
- Repeat with the sponge, and finally with the first dough.
- Drizzle the melted and cooled butter down the side of the bowl, incorporating it slowly, especially if it is still quite warm.
- Once the butter is fully incorporated, add the flour and mix slowly until everything is combined.
- Remove the paddle attachment, and attack the dough hook. Set the mixer to a medium speed (4 on my large KitchenAid), and leave to knead the dough for 30 minutes. This seems like a very long time, but it is very necessary.
- You should see the dough change over time, until eventually it forms a single soft mass, rather than being runny. When the dough is holding together nicely, you should even start to see underneath it as it moves around the bowl. When in doubt, knead for longer.
- Melt 25g of unsalted butter, and use a pastry brush to paint it all over the inside of your two 750g pandoro tins.
- Place a clean bowl on your scale and zero it out, then transfer the dough into the clean bowl.
- There will undoubtedly be rogue dry pieces of un-kneaded dough around the outside of the mixing bowl. Try to avoid scraping these into the clean bowl, although it’s not the end of the world if a couple end up in there.
- Write down the weight of the dough before you forget it, and then divide that number by two.
- Pour the appropriate amount of dough into each tin, and then cover with cling film and set aside to prove.
- When the dough has risen to about 3/4 of the tin, preheat your oven to 180c/160c fan.
- If you have an oven thermometer, check that your oven is the actual temperature it’s supposed to be – pandoro is quite finicky!
- Once the dough has risen to about 1cm below the ton of the tin, remove the cling film, and allow the dough to develop a skin on top for 15 minutes.
- Bake the pandoro for about 40 minutes. If it starts to darken very quickly, create a ‘hat’ out of tin foil and place it over the top.
- After about 35-40 minutes, remove the pandoro from the oven and insert a paring knife into the middle. If it comes out clean then the bread it done, otherwise return to the oven for 5 more minutes. The exact timing will depend heavily on your particular oven.
- Leave the pandoro to cool in the tins until they hit about 30c and can be comfortably handled, then transfer to a wire rack.
- Do not allow them to go completely cold before attempting to remove, or they will stick to the tin!
- Immediately dust the pandoro all over with a little icing sugar. This will create a satisfying stickiness to the outside. Do not smother with icing sugar – that comes later…
- Leave the pandoro to cool completely on a wire rack.
- When the pandoro are cold, transfer to a clean plastic bag, for storage of up to 10 days.
- There are many ways to serve a pandoro. Many people simply dust them generously with icing sugar and serve.
- My favourite way to serve a pandoro is cut it into slices and stagger them to make a tree shape; This is traditional at Christmas.
- I like to create a simple Chantilly cream by whisking together 300g of double cream, 50g of icing sugar and 2 tsp of vanilla extract. I spread a thin layer between each slice, and adorn each of the ‘shelves’ with a blob of cream and a raspberry, before dusting the whole thing with icing sugar.