23 Dec 2014

Sweet Holiday

If the idea of baking Christmas Puddings or Yule Logs from scratch turns your festive mood into a pickle, or if  you wish to forsake tradition for originality, then Mirabelle's selection will keep the kitchen drama to a minimum and bring WOWs to the dinner table! Enters an Italian brioche by the name of 'Pandoro', dressed up to the nines with all the trimmings...

Source: Le Pandoro Gourmand by Laura Zavan (in French), translated and adapted below by Mirabelle. The recipe is from Laura Zavan's desserts book, Dolce, La Pâtisserie à l'Italienne, published by Les Comptoirs Marabout.

Pandoro Gourmand (Scrumptious Pandoro Recipe)

Preparation: 30 mins
Serves 10

  • 1 quality artisan Italian Pandoro (1kg/ 2.3lbs in weight), from Italian delicatessen
  • 250g (8.8oz) mascarpone
  • 25cl (8.7fl.oz) double cream (or whipping cream), extra-chilled for half an hour in the freeze box
  • 3 egg yolks at room temperature
  • 50g (1.7oz) brown caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons spirit of your choice (Brandy, Cointreau, Amaretto, etc.) - or vanilla extract
  • 1 whole pomegranate - or 100g (3.5oz) redcurrants
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar

Prep the pomegranate: slice it in quarters and deseed. Keep aside.

Whisk together the yolks, caster sugar and spirit (or vanilla extract) until the mixture is smooth and pales down in colour. Fold in the mascarpone and whisk together to a fluffy consistency.

Make the whipped cream: whisk up the extra-chilled double cream until it holds soft peaks. Then carefully fold it into the mascarpone preparation, a few spoonfuls at a time so as to keep the mixture fluffed up and light.

Lie the Pandoro on its long side onto a chopping board. Carefully slice the Pandoro with a bread knife into half a dozen parallel slices, each approx. 2cm (1in) thick (see photo). Then with the knife, divide the largest slices into halves (or thirds).

Stack up the slices, generously sandwiched up with the cream (either use a spatula or piping bag to do so). For added effect, reshape the Pandoro into a star shape (i.e. with the slices in quincunx - see photo). Liberally sprinkle the pomegranate seeds (or redcurrants) and dust a veil of icing sugar for the finishing touch, et voilà!

And now for... The Mirabelle 'Midas' Touch: 
  1. Mix a handful of jelly beans in with the pomegranate seeds.
  2. Substitute the mascarpone with Chestnut Purée and combine to the whipped cream. Optionally add in 2 tablespoons of Tia Maria. Substitute pomegranate seeds for chocolate chips. For the finale, dust a veil of pure cocoa powder and then a veil of icing sugar. Decorate the top of the Pandoro with either cupcake sugar toppers or crushed Marrons Glacés (candied chestnuts) for extra indulgence!

Book cover picture via Amazon

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