Christmas recipes

Christmas recipes


Christmas is not Christmas without the Panettone, the typical Italian sweet bread…

Serves 10-12 – Ingredients

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

In a large bowl, combine the yeast, water and sugar. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes, or until the mixture becomes foamy. Add the eggs, yogurt, vanilla extract, salt and lemon zest. Mix well! Then stir in the flour a 1/2 cup scoop at a time until the dough shapes into a manageable ball. Plop it onto a lightly floured surface and begin kneading the dough for about 5 to 10 minutes (if
necessary, add more flour until you can easily mold the dough and it’s not sticky – this could take 4 or 5 cups of flour, so be patient!) Place dough in a large, lightly pan-sprayed bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. (My grandmother always used a blanket to cover and wrap the entire bowl for warmth). While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and prep a round 8-inch cake pan with non-stick spray.  In a smaller bowl, toss the raisins with confectioners’ sugar. Punch down your dough ball in bowl, and then transfer it to a flat, floured surface – then kneed in the fruit! Form the dough into a ball, place in prepared cake pan, cover loosely with a towel, and allow it to rise for about 25-30 minutes. (Don’t worry, it’s normal for the dough to rise above the sides!) Brush the top of the panettone with melted butter, then bake for 45 minutes, or until it is a golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Voila! You’re ready to serve this sweet treat to all your
family and friends!

**Note…if you don’t like raisins, leave them out! Then when your cake is finished, dust it with powdered sugar or drizzle with melted chocolate – both traditional and TASTY alternatives to this classic panettone recipe!

Il Pandoro Veronese — Verona’s Pandoro

Pandoro symbolizes Christmas like few other cakes: It even looks Christmassy, a craggy mountain topped with snow-white confectioners sugar. It’s difficult to make, and therefore most Italians prefer to buy commercially produced Pandoro from their local baker or supermarket, but if you are an accomplished baker making it at home will be quite rewarding. You’ll need a high-sided mold — the molds used in Verona are about 10 inches (25 cm) high, 8 inches (20 cm) across at the top, tapering, and star-shaped in cross section, usually with eight points. If you cannot find a Pandoro mold a similarly tapering cylindrical mold will have to do. In terms of ingredients, to make a Pandoro for 6 you’ll need:

  • 3 cups (300 g) flour
  • 8 ounces (200 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (120 g)sugar
  • 2/3ounce (20 g) active baker’s yeast of the kind one buys in the dairy section of the supermarket
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • The grated zest of an organically grown lemon
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/3 cup (30 g) confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Flour for your work surface
  • Butter and flour for the mold

Crumble the yeast into a bowl and combine it with 1 tablespoon of sugar, an egg yolk, 1/3 cup of flour, and sufficient water to make a soft loaf. Cover the bowl and let the loaf rise, in a warm place, for 2 hours. Sift half the remaining flour onto your work surface and combine it with half the sugar, then work in the starter loaf, 3 yolks, and 3 tablespoons of the butter. Knead well, shape the dough into a ball. Lightly flower the bowl, set the dough in it to rise, and cover it with the cloth. After another 2 hours combine the remaining flour and sugar on your work surface and work it into the dough, together with the whole egg and the yolk. Knead the
dough well, until it is homogenous, put it in a floured bowl and cover it with a cloth, and let it rise for another 2 hours. Flour your work surface and return the dough to it, add the lemon zest and the vanilla extract, and then knead in the cream, a little at a time, so it is absorbed well. Spread the dough out on your work surface and shape it into a rectangle using your rolling pin. Cut the remaining butter into pits and distribute them over the center of the sheet. Fold the sheet in thirds, and reroll it out. Let it rest another half hour, and repeat the operation. Do this once more. Butter and flour the mold, turn it upside down, and rap it to remove excess flour. Shape the dough into a ball and put it in the mold; it should fill the mold about half-full. Cover the mold with a cloth and put it into a warm place to rise until the dough reaches the top of the mold (about 20 minutes).

While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 400 f (200 C). Bake the Pandoro for a half hour, then reduce the heat to 360 F
(180 C) and bake for a half hour more. Unmold the Pandoro immediately, and cool it on a rack. Before serving it, dust it with abundant powdered sugar.


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