Christmas in Umbria

Panettone or Pandoro

At the beginning of November you can already see them in our supermarket in Umbria in all sizes and designs: the panettone and the pandoro. Two types of traditional Italian cakes eaten at Christmas.
In recent years you can also buy this typical Italian 'dolce' in the Netherlands. But what is it anyway? And where does this tradition come from?


A panettone is a round high cake, traditionally filled with raisins or candied fruits. The origin of the panettone is in Milan. And there are two versions about the origin of this delicacy.
The first one tells of a certain Toni, servant to Duke Ludovico il Moro in Milan. To save the Christmas lunch, he replaced the burnt dessert of the cook with a sweet bread with dried fruit. His recipe quickly became very popular and quickly spread under the name 'Pan del Toni' and that became 'panettone'.
The other story claims that Toni was a baker who didn't have enough customers. Now it wanted him to have a beautiful daughter who was in love with a Ughetto Atellani. However, they could not get married due to the financial problems of father Toni. Ughetto then pretended to be a baker's assistant and made a sweet bread with raisins and candied fruits. The bread, 'Pan del Toni' became a huge hit and saved the company from father Toni. The lovers could get married!
In any case, the panettone from Lombardy throughout Italy has become the typical Christmas treat.


The word 'oro' means 'gold' and is really nothing else than adding egg to the dough which makes the cake yellower in color. However, there is a more colorful explanation for the name. Venice was enormously rich in the Renaissance. And at that time it was not strange when the desserts were served with a gold leaf topping.
But it is more obvious that the pandoro is a descendant of the famous Christmas cake 'nadalin'. A simple high cake that was prepared for Christmas by every Verona resident. The production of the pandoro has traditionally come from Verona.

What is the difference

The panettone has a round shape, a thick crust and is not served with powdered sugar.
The pandoro, on the other hand, has the shape of a star, is soft and always covered with a thick layer of powdered sugar.
The preparation is also very different. Raisins or candied fruits are used in the traditional recipe of the panettone. In the pandoro, on the other hand, there is only vanilla.


This recipe for panettone is one of the simplest versions. The 'real' panettone is made with sourdough, a so-called 'mother dough', but it is perfectly possible to use normal yeast.

  • 50 g of citron
  • 1.25 dl of warm milk
  • 50 g of butter
  • 50 g white caster sugar
  • 25 g of fresh yeast
  • 350 g of flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • a pinch of salt
  • 75 g raisins
  • the grater of 1 lemon and 75 g of melted butter

Finely chop the citron. Heat the milk to just below boiling point, add the butter, 1 teaspoon of sugar and the yeast and stir everything into a smooth porridge. Leave the yeast mixture in a warm place until it starts to become foamy. Meanwhile, sieve half of the flour in a bowl, add the egg yolks, the rest of the sugar and the salt and beat everything until smooth. Knead in the rest of the flour, the yeast mixture, the raisins, the citron and the lemon zest and knead into a smooth dough. Knead the dough for at least 5 minutes and then leave it in a warm place in the covered bowl. The dough has to rise so much that its size has doubled. Knead the dough well, put it in a buttered, round cake pan and let it rise again. Brush the top with melted butter and bake the panettone for 10 minutes in a preheated oven (200 C). Brush the top again and bake the cake for 40 minutes at 170 C until the top is golden brown and crispy. Allow the panettone to cool on a rack and cut into dots.

Please let us know if your home-made panettone was tasty?
Buon Natale !!!!


  1. We do not need to use a prescription. He's ready.
    Love. Jan and Ger

  2. Looks very nice, I haven't seen them in Deventer yet, is snooping around.

  3. Will make it sometime, Ivan likes it

  4. Monique barger

    Nice story Rose. That way I learn something again. I don't make it because I have my hands full with Christmas cookies. That is tradition here in northern Italy. Also nice

Leave a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .