Pandoro is an Italian cake/bread that originated in Verona and it is traditionally eaten at Christmas but I think it’s a waste to eat it only once a year. It’s sometimes cut horizontally and filled with fruit and cream. My preference is to cut wedges and dunk it into a flat white coffee.

This is one of those things that should only be attempted by a baker with at least a little experience. Put a full day to once side when you do it, you will see why when you read the recipe.

Use a hand held mixer if possible as this is hard work otherwise.

Starter

65 grams of strong white flour
30 grams of water which is 30C 
5 grams of easy bake yeast or 16 grams of fresh yeast

Mix 75% (3/4) of the flour with the yeast and then add the water until it is absorbed. It will be sticky at this point. Turn out on to a floured surface and knead the remaining flour in until it is smooth.

Shape into a ball and put into a bowl then cover it tightly and prove it until it has doubled in size which will take 60 – 90 minutes, perhaps a little longer.

First Dough

10 grams of strong white flour
30 grams of sugar
65 grams of whole egg

Put the starter in a bigger bowl and add the flour. Mix in the sugar and then half the eggs. Use a hand held mixer or a wooden spoon. Add the rest of the eggs gradually.

Knead for 10 – 15 minutes on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth.

Make a ball, put it in a bowl and cover it. Prove it for 60 – 90 minutes.

Second Dough

250 grams of strong white flour
130 grams of sugar
14 grams of honey
185 grams of butter
160 grams of whole eggs
28 grams of egg yolks
Teaspoon of vanilla essence
Zest of an unwaxed lemon

Mix the flour and sugar together and add, with the egg yolks, vanilla essence and lemon zest to the first dough. Knead for a few minutes to blend them all together.

Add the whole eggs a little at a time. Once the eggs have been absorbed and the butter in little pieces and knead for 30 – 40 minutes until the butter is absorbed and the dough is smooth and elastic.

Flour your work surface and your hands then fold the dough on to itself 3 or 4 times and then form it lightly into a ball.

Grease a pandoro tin using butter making sure that you cover all the nooks and crannies. Put the dough into the tin smooth side down and grease the top surface well. (Use melted butter and lightly brush it on.)

Cover tightly and prove until it reaches the edge of the mould which can take up to 4 hours.

Place carefully in an oven preheated to 190C for 35 – 40 minutes. Test it with a skewer and it it comes out clean then it is cooked.

Leave to cool for a little while in the tin and then ease it out on to a cooling rack.

When it is cold level the base with a knife so that it doesn’t wobble when it’s on the plate.

Happy eating!