Pandoro derives its colour from the egg yolks, so use the freshest and best-quality eggs available, with rich dark yolks. This is best made a few hours ahead of time and kept in a cool place. It’s not necessary to use a special star-shaped Pandoro tin – any bundt or large baking tin will suffice.
500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
5g sea salt
125g organic caster sugar
10g fast-acting yeast
1 orange, finely grated zest only
1 lemon, finely grated zest only
150g softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 medium free-range eggs
2 free-range egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla paste or essence
100ml organic full cream milk, warmed
Icing sugar, for dusting
3 sprigs red currants, or similar
1⁄2 kilo cherries for decoration (optional)
1 cup double cream
3 tbsp icing sugar
Place the flour in the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and caster sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the orange and lemon zest, softened butter, eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and warm milk. Start on a slow speed and mix together to form a wet, sticky dough. Increase the speed on the mixer and mix for 10 minutes. The dough should now be a thicker consistency and adhere to the dough hook. If the dough is dropping from the hook, mix for a further 5 minutes, or until the correct consistency is achieved.
Lightly dust a work surface with the extra flour, then tip out the dough and gently knead to form a ball. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave to prove until it doubles in size. This can take 5 hours or more depending on room temperature – but for best results, leave overnight.
Grease a 500g Pandoro star- shaped mould (or similar bundt tin) with butter. Tip the risen dough onto a lightly floured work surface and fold in on itself a few times to knock out the air.
Shape dough into a ball and place in the prepared tin, gently pressing into the corners. Cover and leave to rise until it comes to the top of the tin, this will take between 11⁄2 and 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 190°C and bake for 35-40 minutes. To test to see the Pandoro is cooked through, insert a skewer into the middle – if it comes out clean it is ready. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.
To make the cream filling, add mascarpone, double cream and icing sugar to a mixing bowl, and mix until smooth. Slice the Pandoro horizontally, being very careful not to break any of the points of the star shape.
Place the largest slice on a serving dish, then spread cream mixture on the top side using a palette knife. Place the next largest slice on top, placing it on an angle so the points of the stars are staggered on alternate layers. Repeat with the cream mixture on every slice and continue to stagger the layers until you reach the top.
Dust heavily with icing sugar and garnish the top with red currants or any other type of berry. Place the raspberries and cherries all around to decorate and serve with lots of berries and cherries, plus some extra cream filling if desired.