It's December. Multitudes of big colored boxes of pandoro and panettone line the supermarket aisles, food shops and pasticcerie (pastry shops). It's unimaginable not to have a box or two of these sweet bread at home waiting under the Christmas tree alongside the gifts. Because of their overwhelming size, they take long to finish. They are THE DESSERT for the whole month of December but they are also THE BREAKFAST best enjoyed with a glass of milk or a steaming cup of hot tea or chocolate.
There's no rule about which is which. Pandoro or panettone. All houses usually have both. What gets opened is just the one that gets the popularity vote among the people on the table. I love both so there are no qualms from me. But on this post, I have a pandoro layered with crema pasticcera (custard cream) flavored with clementines. Interested?
Before I get your hopes up, I did not make the pandoro. I bought it. It's a Melegatti, from the makers of the pandoro who had its procedure for industrial production patented in the 1800s. This dessert bread, called pan d'oro (golden bread) has a long history and had been eaten solely by the nobles and rich of Venice in the old times. It was in Verona, a territory of Venice, where the formula was developed and perfected after one century.
Nowadays, pandoro can be filled up with cream, gelato or chocolate. Last year, I filled up some mini pandoro with gelato that the kids loved. This year, I wanted to try layering it with crema pasticcera (custard cream) which I flavored with clementines (what else?) and make it look like a Christmas tree which I had been seeing around lately.
Verdict? It's after midnight and all I can think of is that big pandoro with clementine cream waiting for me to dive in on the the kitchen table after already having a couple of slices after dinner.
We are 2 days away from Christmas! Merry Christmas to you and your families!
Pandoro Farcito con Crema alle Clementine (Pandoro with Clementine Cream)Ingredients:
- 1 pandoro
- 1 sachet icing sugar, about 100 g. (It should come with the box of pandoro.)
- decorative silver candy balls (or whatever you have)
- 500 ml. milk
- 50 g. flour
- 150 g. granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 clementine, juice & zest
- 1/2 cup clementine, mandarin or orange liqueur (or juice of 2 - 3 clementines)
- 3 tablespoons water
- In a saucepan, boil the milk (leaving 1/2 glass for later) with the vanilla pod in a small saucepan. Once it boils, take it away from the fire and let it infuse for 10 minutes.
- In a bowl, mix the yolks with the sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture becomes creamy and frothy.
- Pour the segregated milk, then the flour, little by little. Continue mixing with the electric mixer.
- Take away the vanilla pod from the milk in the saucepan.
- Pour the egg mixture little by little to the milk in the saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil. Whisk continuously to prevent formation of lumps. Simmer on low heat until it becomes thick.
- Add clementine juice and zest. Whisk for another minute until mixed well with the cream. Turn off the fire and let it cool.
- Slice pandoro horizontally with a big, sharp knife.
- In a small bowl, mix clementine liqueur (or juice) and 3 tablespoons water.
- Brush this mixture to the first pandoro slice.
- Spread some clementine cream on the pandoro slice.
- Continue brushing the slices with liqueur and spreading clementine cream until the top.
- Sift an abundant amount of icing sugar on top and let the sugar fall naturally on the sides.
NOTE: Slicing can be very tricky. Normally, a pandoro is sliced vertically so the slices are very tall. In this case, the cream will make a mess, so I serve it by transferring the first 2 - 3 slices to another big plate and make the slices from there. You can still put more clementine cream before serving.