Italian Christmas Recipes

Here there are a few traditional Italian Christmas recipes for you to enjoy:
Panettone di Milano, Panforte di Siena, Pandoro di Verona, Pandolce Alto.

Panettone di Milano

Start this panettone early in the day

1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup warm water (100oF to 110oF)
2 packages active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup of sugar
6 large egg yolks
1 1/2 sticks softened unsalted butter, plus additional softened butter
2 cups golden raisins
1 cup candied citron

To make the sponge, pour the 1/3 cup warm water into a bowl and sprinkle 1 packet of yeast over it. Let stand until the yeast has dissolved (about 10 minutes) and stir in 1/2 cup of flour. Cover and let stand for 30

Sprinkle the remaining packet of yeast over the remaining 1/2 cup water in another small bowl. Let stand until dissolved.

IPanettone di Milanon a large bowl, beat together the sugar, ,egg yolks, and the yeast-and-water mixture. Stir in the sponge mixture. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the 1 1/2 sticks of butter and remaining 3 1/2 cups flour. Continue beating and slowly add the egg mixture. Beat on high-speed until dough is elastic-looking and smooth. Beat in raisins and citron. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place until doubled; allow two to three hours.

Divide into three loaves. Roll into oblong Shapes and place in bread pans lined with buttered, brown paper. Cover and let rise again, until doubled, for about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400oF. Cut an X in the top of each loaf with a razor. Insert a dot of butter into the X and bake 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 375oF and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes. Loaves are done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Panforte di Siena

(Serves 8 to 10, makes 1 9-inch cake)

1 Panforte di Sienacup whole hazelnuts
1 cup natural shelled almonds
1 cup candied citron, finely sliced
1 cup candied orange, finely sliced
1 t. grated orange zest
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. coriander
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
Softened butter
2/3 cup of honey
2/3 cup of sugar
Confectioners' sugar

Heat the oven to 350oF. Toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet until the skins blister and pop, about 10 to 15 minutes. Rub the skins from the hazelnuts with a kitchen towel. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet until lightly toasted, about 10 to 15 minutes. Chop the almonds and hazelnuts very coarsely. Turn the oven down to 300oF.

In a large bowl, combine the nuts, citron, orange, zest, flour, cocoa, and spices. Mix well.

Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment and set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine the honey and butter. Bring to a boil, and boil without stirring for 2 minutes. Pour the mixture over the nut mixture and mix vigorously to combine. Quickly scrape the mixture into the prepared pan (it becomes stiff very fast) and pat the dough quickly into place with a spatula.

Bake 30 minutes. Cool until firm to the touch and remove the sides of the pan. Invert the cake, peel away the parchment and shower the cake with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

Pandoro Di Verona

1Pandoro di Verona tablespoon pastry flour
1 (1/4 ounce) envelope dry yeast
1 tablespoon lukewarm water
3/4 cup pastry flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 1/3 cups pastry flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pastry flour
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
granulated sugar (to sprinkle on greased pan)
confectioners' sugar (to sprinkle over cooled cake)

Place 1 Tablespoon flour, yeast and 1 Tablespoon lukewarm water in a bowl, and mix together well. Cover and let stand in a warm place for 20 minutes.

In another bowl, place 3/4 cup flour, 1 Tablespoon sugar, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk and 1 Tablespoon melted butter. Mix together a little, and add the yeast mixture. Work together well 5 minutes, cover bowl and let rise in warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Place 1 1/3 cups flour on pastry board, 2 Tablespoons sugar, 2 Tablespoons melted butter, 1 egg, 2 egg yolks, vanilla and salt and mix together a little. Add yeast dough and work well with hands (knead) for 10 minutes. Add 2 Tablespoons flour and work well until dough does not stick to hands or board. Make a ball of the dough and let it rise in a warm place for 3 hours.

Roll dough into a sheet 2 inches thick and dot with 3/4 cup cold butter which has been cut into little pieces. Fold dough over 3 times (like a business letter) and roll out as before. Let dough stand (rest) for 20 minutes. Fold dough over 3 times again, and roll flat and let stand 20 minutes. Repeat the procedure (folding, rolling and resting) one more time.

Grease a 2-quart cake form (pan) and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar. Place dough in form and let rise until dough reaches top edge of form (about 1 hour).

Bake in a 400°F oven for 15 minutes, lower heat to 350°F and bake 30 minutes longer, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Turn cake over on a rack and cool.

Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.

NOTE: Pandoro forms/molds hold 2 quarts by volume, and are roughly 10 inches wide (across the top), about 4 inches wide (across the bottom) and usually 5 to 6 inches deep.

Pandolce Alto

Pandolce AltoMakes 4 small loaves.

1⁄4 tsp. active dry yeast
6 cups bread flour
3 tbsp. fennel seeds
10 tbsp. sugar
13 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 1⁄4 cups golden raisins
1 cup candied orange peel
1⁄3 cup pine nuts

Heat 1 1⁄2 cups water to 115°F in a 1-qt (946 ml). saucepan over high heat. In a medium bowl, stir together the water, yeast, and 2 1⁄2 cups of the flour to form the starter. Cover with plastic wrap, let sit at room temperature until bubbly and foamy, about 4 hours, then refrigerate overnight. The starter will keep for up to 3 days.

Put fennel seeds into a bowl; pour in enough boiling water to cover. Let fennel seeds soften for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Transfer reserved starter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add sugar and 1⁄2 cup tepid water; mix on low speed to combine. Add the remaining flour in 3 additions; mix until a dough forms, then continue to mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Add a third of the butter and mix until incorporated, about 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining butter in 2 more batches. Add fennel seeds, raisins, orange peel, and pine nuts and mix until incorporated.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface, form into a ball, and cut into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball; divide balls between 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Let rise, uncovered, in a warm place until doubled in size, 2–2 1⁄2 hours.

Heat oven to 350°F. Using a razor blade, cut a triangle on top of each dough ball. Bake until golden, about 50 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

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