Pandoro (pan d’oro) is a traditional Italian sweet yeast bread most popular around and Christmas and New Year. Tipically a Veronese product, pandoro is traditionally shaped like a frustum with an 8 pointed- stars section.
It is often served dusted with vanilla scented icing sugar made to resemble the snowy peaks of the Italian Alps during Christmas.
Modern taste sometimes calls for Pandoro to have a hole cut into its bottom and a part of the soft interior to be removed, the cavity is then filled with Chantilly cream or vanilla gelato. Cream or gelato can be served as a garnish to pandoro slices.
The first citation of a dessert clearly identified as Pandoro dates to the 18th century. The dessert certainly figured in the cuisine of the Venetian aristocracy. Venice was the principal market for spices as late as the 18th century as well as for the sugar that by then had replaced honey in European pastries and breads made from leavened dough. And it was at Verona, in Venetian territory, that the formula for making pandoro was developed and perfected, a process that required a century. The modern history of this dessert bread began at Verona on October 30, 1894, when Domenico Melegatti obtained a patent for a procedure to be applied in producing pandoro industrially. Pandoro was also the last meal eaten by the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini before his execution in 1945.
1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups all-purpose flour
8 egg yolks, plus 1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup water
1 lemon, zested
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup water
In a small bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar, 1 egg yolk, and 1/2 cup flour, and blend well. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.
On a clean work surface, mound 3 of the remaining cups of flour and make a well in the center. In a medium bowl, beat together 4 of the egg yolks, 1/2-cup sugar, the butter and 1/2 cup water. Add the yeast combination from above and mix well. Pour the entire mixture into the flour well and gradually mix the flour into the liquids to form a sticky dough. Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes, or use the dough hook attachment on an electric mixer. The dough should remain somewhat tacky, unlike bread dough.
Grease or oil a large bowl and add the dough, turning to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
Punch down the dough and add the remaining flour, egg yolks, 1/2 cup water, egg, sugar and lemon zest and knead until blended, then knead for an additional 10 minutes on a floured work surface. Place in a greased or buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap then let rise for an additional 2 hours.Butter and flour two pandoro molds or coffee cans. Punch the dough down, divide it in 2, and roll each piece into a ball. Place one ball in each of the molds, and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 170° . Bake the pandoro for 35 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let rest for 10 minutes, thenunmold and let cool completely.
Drizzle the pandoro with the the confectioners’ sugar