I remember how hard was, seven years ago when we moved here in the US (Midwest to be more precise), finding a Pandoro or a Panettone somewhere. Therefor, with the passing of the years these two typical Italian Christmas “cakes” have become pretty popular and nowadays, I would say pretty much the day after Halloween (Lol), you can find both Pandoro and Panettone in many stores around (I don’t want to make any advertisement – especially because I would not earn a penny from it – but Marshall and TJMAX have plenty!). Before to talk to you about my new recipe, I would like to explain quickly (for those who has never heard about it) what Panettone and Pandoro are.
1) Originally from Milan, Panettone has a domed shape, with a soft and airy interior beneath a dark exterior. The cake dough requires several hours to make because it must be cured in a way similar to sourdough, rising and falling three times before being baked. Traditionally, it contains candied orange, citron, and lemon zest, as well as raisins.
2) Pandoro hails from Verona (Romeo and Juliet town). As its name suggests – literally “golden bread” – it is the product of the ancient art of breadmaking. Sweet breads enriched with eggs, butter and sugar were reserved for nobility and were known as “golden bread”. Pandoro has an eight pointed-star section shape. It is often served dusted with icing sugar.
It is very funny how in the Italian families every year there is a real dilemma when it comes to decide which of the two has to be served at Christmas!!! Anyway, the other day, at the store, I found this very captivating Pandoro, I thought it would have been a nice Christmasy breakfast for our family in this period of the year. How disappointing it was when I took out the Pandoro from the box and It was absolutely misshapen, shorter than expected and not exactly appealing as it should have been… At that point I could not help myself but give to my Pandoro a “make over” by decorating it with a reach cream and some Christmas sugar decoration! Of course I am not the first person that decides to do so, since this idea has been around on the web for long and I recall seeing many of this “stuffed” Pandoro on pinterest, but this time the piece of Christmas art surfing on the web, will be sign by the undersigned :-).
INGREDIENTS for the Cream
16 oz. (500 gr.) or 2 containers mascarpone cheese
4 yolks and 3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
3 tsp. orange extract (optional)
about 1 1/2 cup heavy whipped cream
powdered sugar to dust
any sprinkled or edible Christmas themed decoration
Prepare the mascarpone cream following the recipe of tiramisu, but with the quantities as described above and without vanilla flavoring. To make my cream more festive I added some orange extract, and let me tell you, it was absolutely a good idea, the cream was delicious! Once the cream is ready, let it rest in the refrigerator while you cut the Pandoro. Don’t forget to whip the whipped cream and keep it in the refrigerator as well.
Cut the Pandoro in 5-6 slices horizontally (depending on how high is your Pandoro). In my case, the Pandoro was so short and irregular that I had to cut and throw away (not for real, we just ate it separately 🙂 ) the bottom slice. I also had to do some “carving” on the slices left because some didn’t actually looked like a star. Once the Panettone is cut, pick a nice Christmas dish and start assembling.
Mix the mascarpone cream with the whipped cream. Place the largest slice onto your serving platter. Spread the cream all over the top. Then, top with the next largest slice making sure to angle it so the points of the stars are not aligned. Repeat until you get to the final slice.
Decorate your “pandoro Christmas Tree” as you pleased, using the remaining cream and sprinkles or whatever edible decoration you like. Dust with powdered sugar.
At this point you can refrigerate and take it out of the fridge about twenty minutes before serving. Keep the remaining cream to serve aside the Panettone.
TIPS: – This “Panettone tree” is very fun to make, very festive and it doesn’t take long to put it together. It can be a fun project to do with your kids and the best part is that there is no baking involved!
– Also, for a “chocolate lover” version you could use Nutella mixed with whipped cream as filling. I also would try to use as a filling some custard mixed with whipping cream.
– Made like this the “Panettone sponge’ will stay quite dry, so if you prefer it to be moist you can brush each slice with milk before to spread the cream, or, for a “grown up version” you can brush the slices with diluted limoncello (for an hint of lemon) or Grand Marnier (for an hint of orange).
It would really make me feel proud knowing you intend to try this Pandoro Tree as your CHRISTMAS SPECIAL DESSERT!
But even if you’ll ever give it a try in another occasion, and enjoyed it, please
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