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Fri, 23 December, 2016



There is no British Christmas bread! I swear, it makes me feel really embarrassed that we only have the sickly gloop of the Christmas cake or even more sickly concoction of brandy and prunes that gets steamed, of all cooking methods, and called Christmas pudding.

I’m really not sure how that has come about - the lack of something tasty that you can toast and butter on Christmas morning. Everyone else has a julekake or a Stollen, a babka or a pulla, or at least marzipan or cinnamon rolls. And it’s definitely not right that Italians should have two to choose from!

christmas pandoro

Panettone and pandoro: fighting for primacy in Italian families, dividing the raisin-chasers and the candied peel-haters. ‘Boring!’ say the former, or even: ‘noioso!’. How can you have such a vast expanse of cake without anything interesting in it? Make bread and butter pudding of it already and make sure you throw in sultanas!

Ah, but orange peel is vile, say the latter. Non mi piace! Wrong flavour! And all those raisins, totally unnecessary. Give me a plain honest slice of cake, but so fluffy, rich and buttery that I won’t need any embellishments!

italian pandoro

Come on, Italians - just have both. I’m having both this year, and got myself the genuine star-shaped tin for it. The recipe is a somewhat simplified version of the Italian one off the tin suppliers' website, Vespa Dolci Forme. Pandoro tastes so good though, I might lean towards the orange peel objectors…


Servings: an 800g pandoroTime: 18 hours


  • For the starter:
  • 10g fresh or 3g instant yeast
  • 40ml warm water
  • 1 tbsp. caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 35g Manitoba flour (or strong bread flour)
  • For the sponge:
  • 1 tbsp. warm water
  • 2g fresh or a pinch of instant yeast
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 140g Manitoba flour (or strong bread flour)
  • 20g butter, softened
  • For the main dough:
  • 140g Manitoba flour (or strong bread flour)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped, or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest grated from 1 orange
  • zest grated from 1/2 lemon
  • For the final dough:
  • 110g butter, softened


1. The dough is made over a couple of hours on the evening of day 1 and the morning of day 2. To make the starter, dissolve the yeast in the water, add the sugar, the yolk and stir it all together. Place the flour in a small bowl and mix in the liquid. Cover with cling film and leave to double in volume, for about an hour in a warm place.

2. For the sponge, dissolve the 2g of yeast in the milk and add to the starter. Follow by the egg and the sugar, and then add the flour, beating the dough with a wooden spoon or using a standing mixer with a paddle attachment. When it’s smooth, add the butter and mix in to incorporate. Cover and leave for an hour again in a warm place.

3. When it’s doubled in volume, add the other 140g of flour, the egg and egg yolk, the sugar, salt, vanilla and the citrus zest. Knead by hand or mix with an electric or a standing mixer with a dough hook attachment until the dough is smooth, elastic and clears the sides of the bowl - this might take a long while even in a standing mixer. Place the dough in a buttered bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.

4. In the morning grease a pandoro tin with butter and dust it with flour. Turn the cold dough out onto a work surface or place it in a standing mixer and add the softened butter. Fold it in or pulse in the mixer until all the butter is incorporated. Shape a smooth ball and drop it into the tin, smooth side down. Place it in a warm place to triple in volume, for about 2-4 hours.

pandoro rising

5. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3. When the pandoro has almost risen up to the rim of the tin, bake it in the lower part of the oven for 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to 160C/320F and bake for 25 minutes until it’s deep golden brown on top.


6. Remove it from the oven and leave it in the tin for 10 minutes. Turn it out carefully onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar when it’s cool.

how to slice pandoro

7. Slice the pandoro horizontally and serve with whipped cream or sweetened mascarpone when fresh; toast lightly before serving when it's been standing for more than a day.

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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