Good evening one and all.
It’s that time of the year again Christmas is fast approaching on us and it’s time to start baking those bakes we all love.
This year I have opted to try something new, something from other countries traditional Christmas Cakes/Breads and other bakes.
I have begun with Panettone and Pandoro from Italy.
My Panettone, I did two flavours, Tradition glacé fruits and raisins, and Chocolate Hazelnut, both failed the centres where still raw and I was rather disappointed, but there is more to it, the traditional fruits one I proved it in fridge for two days by mistake as I forgot about it and it rent rancid, I baked it anyway to see how it went and yep, absolutely awful, but the bits that was cooked looked and felt amazing but I wasn’t willing to try it with that smell.
The Chocolate and Hazelnut one, worked great but again was still raw in the centre, I chose to use 70% Dark Chocolate, as it was way way too rich for this kind of bake I think next time I try I will have to use a 50% or even a Milk Chocolate and see how that works and instead of Roasted Chopped Hazelnuts I may use Praline instead, (We have two types, Praline Paste and Blitzed Caramelised Hazelnuts, I think both would work well but would have to find a way to use the paste as it has more moisture, may have to reduce the amount of butter as it has hazelnut oil instead)
I got my Panettone Kit, from Bakery Bits it came with everything I need except their sourdough starter, so I went in search of a recipe without it and seemed easy enough, but I think I was severely underestimating the complexity of this sweet bread, so I now go in search of a different recipe that is relatively simple?
Now onto the Pandoro, this took quite come time and a lot of steps, but I really do think it has paid off so much, the flavour, texture and the crumb of the sweet bread is delightful, but without the sugar dusting it’s flour is confusing. the steps needed include laminating the dough with soft butter and and them folding corners into the centre of the dough,
it’s complicated for a first timer, but with my love of doing Croissants and other Viennoiserie I didn’t have much trouble doing this. I also got this kit from Bakery Bits it also came with everything but the Sourdough starter, but again I went in search of a recipe that doesn’t use it. I couldn’t find one in English I fancied doing so I did the search in Italian, and came across a site with it all in picture form and step by step with simple and easy to understand instructions, and after browsing the site turns out they had an English version so I switched to it, Pandoro Cake Recipe, it worked beautifully with one single criticism, I only had a 750g Pandoro Tin, this recipe is for a 1KG Pandoro Tin, so before you laminated maybe remove 225g of the dough and 25g of the soft butter for laminating, otherwise like me you will have a pandora that expands and almost touches the top of the oven where the element is(I cut the 5inch top off (burnt too)).
The plan next is to do Speculaas Biscuits from Netherlands/Belgium, I have the Spice mix and the liquid flavour.
And Obviously you can’t have a Christmas without Chocolate Logs, From France.
I’d love to hear your suggestions on other nations traditional Christmas cakes, bakes, sweet breads I can try at home.