Around Rome and Italy (and the world over really!) panettone and other traditional Christmas treats & sweets adorn supermarket and food store shelves.

There are some amazing and artisanal Italian food desserts you can get on the market these days but why not try your hand at making them at home? In our last Christmas in Italy post you read about the four sweet P’s – Pandoro (star-shaped sweet bread dusted with icing sugar), Panettone (big muffin looking sweet bread with candied fruit and sometimes even chocolate or jam), Panforte (dense fruit cake with cloves and spices) and Panpeppato (like a dense gingerbread cake and also know locally in Rome as pangiallo – yellow bread)!

Here are some Italian dessert food recipes we found and thought we’d share. Happy baking and happy holidays. Gosh we love this time of year! Let us know in the comments if you tried to make any of these delicious four Italian sweets!

Pandoro

Courtesy of Food.com

Ingredients

1 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)

Directions:

  1. Place 1 Tablespoon flour, yeast and 1 Tablespoon lukewarm water in a bowl, and mix together well.
  2. Cover and let stand in a warm place for 20 minutes.
  3. In another bowl, place 3/4 cup flour, 1 Tablespoon sugar, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk and 1 Tablespoon melted butter.
  4. Mix together a little, and add the yeast mixture.
  5. Work together well 5 minutes, cover bowl and let rise in warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
  6. 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.
  7. Add yeast dough and work well with hands (knead) for 10 minutes.
  8. Add 2 Tablespoons flour and work well until dough does not stick to hands or board.
  9. Make a ball of the dough and let it rise in a warm place for 3 hours.
  10. Roll dough into a sheet 2 inches thick and dot with 3/4 cup cold butter which has been cut into little pieces.
  11. Fold dough over 3 times (like a business letter) and roll out as before.
  12. Let dough stand (rest) for 20 minutes.
  13. Fold dough over 3 times again, and roll flat and let stand 20 minutes.
  14. Repeat the procedure (folding, rolling and resting) one more time.
  15. Grease a 2-quart cake form (pan) and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar.
  16. Shape in dough in form and let rise until dough reaches top edge of form (about 1 hour).
  17. 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.
  18. Turn cake over on a rack and cool.
  19. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.
Delicious panettone (photo credit: Michael S-R)

Panettone

Courtesy of the Food Network

Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup currants, soaked in warm water for 1 hour and drained
2 oranges, zested
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Butter and flour an 8-inch round deep cake pan or panettone mold. In a mixer, cream the butter with the eggs and egg yolks until pale yellow, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Replace the beater with the dough hook attachment, and with the mixer running, add half of the flour.
  4. Add half the milk and mix for 1 minute.
  5. Add the remaining flour followed by the remaining milk and all of the sugar and mix well. Continue mixing and kneading with the dough hook until the dough becomes dry enough to handle.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and sprinkle with the currants, orange zest, cream of tartar, and baking soda. Knead by hand for 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Place the dough in the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. The top will be quite cracked. Remove from the oven, invert onto a rack and cool.
  8. Slice into wedges to serve.

Panforte

Courtesy of Joy of Baking

Ingredients

3 ounces (90 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup (125 grams) toasted and coarsely chopped hazelnuts
1 cup (120 grams) toasted and coarsely chopped blanched almonds
1 cup candied citrus (170 grams) (citron, lemon and/or orange peel)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) honey

Directions

  1. Butter and line with parchment paper an 8-inch (20 cm) tart pan. Alternatively, and for a more authentic look, line the pan with edible rice paper (available at Asian markets).
  2. First melt the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Set aside. Then in a large bowl combine the nuts, candied fruit, spices, flour, and cocoa powder.
  3. In a saucepan, stir together the sugar and honey. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Then clamp a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan. Continue to boil the mixture over medium heat, without stirring, until the temperature reaches the soft ball stage, 240 degrees F (116 degrees C).
  4. Remove from heat and stir the sugar/honey syrup and the melted chocolate into the chopped nut and fruit mixture. The mixture will stiffen quickly so once combined, transfer to the prepared pan.
  5. With damp hands, or the back of a spoon or offset spatula, evenly spread the Panforte, smoothing the top.
  6. Bake in a 300 degree F (150 degree C) oven for about 30 – 35 minutes or until the surface has fine blisters. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. While the Panforte is still warm, remove the sides of the pan and heavily dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ (powdered/icing) sugar.
  7. Gently rub the sugar into the cake.  (Note: if you have lined the pan with rice paper you may find it has torn. If that is the case simply add more rice paper, using a little egg white as glue.)
  8. Once the cake has completely cooled, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in a cool, dry place. Well wrapped this cake will keep several months.
  9. Serve this cake in thin slices as it is quite rich. Makes 1 – 8 inch (20 cm) cake.
Try your hand at some Panforte this holiday season!

Panpeppato

Courtesy of Il Mio Lazio

Ingredients

  • 300 g raisins
  • 200 g almonds
  • 200 g walnuts
  • 200 g hazelnuts
  • 100 g pine nuts
  • 100 g flour
  • 200 g honey
  • 150 g cocoa
  • 50 g grated chocolate

Directions

  1. Chop all the ingredients and heat the honey in a small pan over a very low heat.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix using a wooden spoon until you have a fairly thick mix. Use your hands to split the mix into small rounds, pushing the mix together until compact.
  3. Place on a lined baking sheet. Cook in the oven for half an hour.

Share