Stella di Pandoro with Chantilly Custard Cream and Cranberries

Nicoletta December 3, 2016

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Stella di Pandoro is a dessert you’d find on Italian tables during the festive season. It looks amazing, tastes even better, and shows how you can bring a packaged cake to a whole new level.

Stella di Pandoro with Chantilly Custard Cream and Cranberries

[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop, we’ve been compensated but all opinions are our own.]

It wouldn’t be Christmas for me without a Stella di Pandoro. I cannot remember when it started to appear on our Christmas festive table at my nonna’s, all I can remember is it being a constant, that moment when my aunt placed it on the table we all would smile the way you would welcome an old friend when you see him again after a long time.



Every Italian house has Pandoro and Panettone, as well as Torrone, on their sweets menu during the holidays. They are the most famous treats you would enjoy after a festive meal. There would be an abundance of them, people not just buying one, but two, three, and they would be exchanged among friends and family during holiday visits, perfect present to bring and receive this time of the year. People would pick sides, the buttery sweet Pandoro lovers, versus the raisins and candied fruit Panettone lovers. I am fair, I like both, and it was to my benefit ’cause I got the best of both world.

Pandoro is amazingly good also eaten like that, just dusted with icing sugar and sliced. I have memories surfacing my mind of my nonna’s house and a big family assembled in a small place; someone, maybe an uncle, spreading the sugar over the pandoro, making sure it is coated all over, top and bottom, nooks and crannies, then placing it, still in its plastic, over the cast iron radiators to warm it up a bit. And everybody waiting before we could dive our face in the big slice, sugar up to our ears, all over our hands and clothes.

But for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day you’d want it all dressed up, stuffed, and layered to resemble a star. It makes a beautiful jolly centerpiece. I’ve seen it done in many friends’s and families houses. The secret was out and I believe the store bought stuffed pandoro started appearing in the stores after somebody saw what people created.

My aunt Teresa, it was always her to make the Stella di Pandoro, she would fill it with whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Soft, white peaks of cream oozing from every layer, with crunchy morsels of chocolate to counterbalance the overall moistness. And we would always make sure to leave some room for her dessert.

Stella di Pandoro with Chantilly Custard Cream and Cranberries

Missing my whole, big, family so much this Christmas holidays, I decided to recreate the Stella di Pandoro to feel a little bit closer to home. Entering the Italian Centre Shop this time of the year is an explosion of cheerful colorful Pandoro and Panettone boxes and for me that is the sign that Christmas is coming. We brought one home and the simple gesture of opening the box, taking the icing sugar that is in the box and sprinkling it on top and all around the pandoro, made me smile.

We would make my family proud and make the most beautiful and delicious Stella di Pandoro they’ve ever seen.

We decide to kick it up a notch and make lemon custard (or pastry cream, I don’t know how to translate crema al limone properly) and Chantilly cream. We add a touch of vanilla bean to both. And we blend them to create a luscious, smooth and velvety crema diplomatica (no English name for that, sorry, I’ve checked). We cook the cranberries in fruit juice and a bit of sugar, to caramelize and soften them and give the pandoro that festive look.

Stella di Pandoro with Chantilly Custard Cream and CranberriesStella di Pandoro with Chantilly Custard Cream and Cranberries

Loreto cuts the slices, and it’s a tricky job, because the pandoro is so soft and also wide, but he does great, and I can already start seeing it taking the lovely shape. I spread the crema, it smells and tastes so good. When it exudes the sides I’m worried for the appearance, but Loreto reassures me and says it is going to add to the look. We reach the top, twisting and turning each layer and the star shape is beautiful. The cranberries, final, splendid touch. We put one, or clusters of two or three on the star points and some fall and lay on the plate creating an impromptu décor. For the top, a dollop of crema, more cranberries and the juice of the cranberries drizzling down, seal the deal.

Stella di Pandoro with Chantilly Custard Cream and Cranberries

We stare at our creation and it’s absolutely beautiful. It has Christmas written all over it.

Stella di Pandoro with Chantilly Custard Cream and Cranberries

The flavor of this Stella di Pandoro with Chantilly Custard Cream and Cranberries is absolutely luxurious. The Pandoro rich in butter, hints of lemon and vanilla. The Chantilly custard cream elevating this cake to new heights with its light, velvety smooth filling in between the layers, spiked with the fresh  lemon and vanilla bean, absolutely heavenly. The cranberries off setting the sweetness a bit with its acidic freshness and tartness, subdued a bit by the saute process with the accompaniment of sugar and fruit juice, which makes a lovely sauce drizzled over top and absorbed into the moist soft sponginess of the Pandoro.

Visually stunning and even more so delicious, this star of a Christmas cake will steal the show and be prepared for the look of pure bliss on the faces of your family and friends.

Here’s to Christmas and all the great gifts this season has to offer.


Song of the day: Mario Biondi, “This Is Christmas Time”.


Stella di Pandoro with Chantilly Custard Cream and Cranberries

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 Cake, 10-12 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Italian


Stella di Pandoro is a dessert you’d find on Italian tables during the festive season. It looks amazing, tastes even better, and shows how you can bring a packaged cake to a whole new level.

Recipe for the crema diplomatica adapted from: In Cucina con Mara


  • 1 Pandoro
  • 3/4 cup cranberries
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp fruit juice

Crema diplomatica (a blend of lemon custard and Chantilly cream):

Lemon Custard:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 40 g flour type 00
  • 1/2 liter milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, scored
  • rind of 1 organic lemon (careful not to scrape the white part of the peel that is very bitter)

Chantilly Cream:

  • 250 ml (the small carton) whipping cream
  • vanilla bean seeds
  • 30 g powdered vanilla sugar



  1. In a pot add milk, vanilla bean, and lemon rind.
  2. Bring to a light boil over medium-low heat and turn off heat. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a bowl beat the yolks with the sugar until foamy and then stir in the sifted flour.
  4. Remove the vanilla bean and lemon rind from the milk. Save the vanilla bean for the Chantilly cream.
  5. Slowly add the flavored milk to the egg mixture and stir.
  6. Transfer it to a saucepan over low heat and keep stirring until the cream is thickened and there are no lumps. Turn off heat and set aside to cool.

Chantilly Cream:

  1. In a bowl with an electric mixer, whip the cream and scraped vanilla bean, when it starts developing stiff peaks add the icing sugar and beat till incorporated. Set aside.

Crema diplomatica:

  1. When the custard is completely cold, fold in the Chantilly cream with a spatula, until the two creams become smooth and homogeneous.


  1. In a small saucepan pour in the fruit juice and the cranberries, bring to a low simmer.
  2. Sprinkle in the sugar and stir carefully as you do not want to break up the cranberries.
  3. Cook on low heat till cranberries become plump but not broken, about 12 minutes.Take off heat and let cool.


  1. In the Pandoro you will find a sachet of icing sugar. Pour that into the bag with the Pandoro and shake gently making sure the Pandoro gets coated well with icing sugar.
  2. Take Pandoro out and place on counter or plate. Starting from the top, cut the Pandoro into 4 equal rounds.
  3. Place the rounds on counter leaving the bottom section on the platter you wish to serve it on.
  4. Take the Chantilly custard mix and layer it on the bottom section. If some goes over the edge it is okay, it adds to the look of it.
  5. Place the next layer on top spinning it so the points are staggered giving you that star look.
  6. Again layer some Chantilly custard mix on this layer and be generous.
  7. Place the next layer on, staggering the points, and do the same Chantilly custard layer.
  8. The final piece, the top goes on and then you will see an indentation on top, fill it with Chantilly custard mix, and top with a mound of cooked cranberries.
  9. Dust some icing sugar around the bottom of the cake.
  10. Finally be creative, add the cooked cranberries to the star point ledges, on the sides of the cake, letting some fall onto the base of the plate, all these accidents add to the wonderfulness of this Stella di Pandoro.
  11. Drizzle the leftover juice from the cranberries on top and down the sides of the Pandoro creating an icicle look.
  12. Let sit in fridge for about 10 minutes to let it set up, before cutting and serving.
  13. You may have some Chantilly custard cream and cranberries left, we usually put a dollop of that and a few extra cranberries in the cut pieces we are serving.
  14. Enjoy!


Pandoro is a moist, buttery, sweet bread that you will see at your Italian store at Christmas (for us at the Italian Centre Shop). When you walk in you will see a pyramid of beautifully boxed cakes of various styles and it is there where you will find Pandoro. Translated it means Golden bread.

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Stella di Pandoro with Chantilly Custard Cream and Cranberries

Ricetta in Italiano: Stella di pandoro con Crema Diplomatica e Mirtilli Rossi


Stella di Pandoro con crema diplomatica e mirtilli rossi

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 pandoro 1x


Ricetta della crema diplomatica adattata da “In Cucina con Mara”.


  • 1 pandoro
  • 3/4 tazza di mirtilli rossi
  • 3 cucchiai succo di frutta
  • 1 1/2 cucchiai di zucchero

Crema diplomatica

  • 4 tuorli d’uovo
  • 100 g zucchero
  • 40 g farina
  • 1/2 litro di latte
  • 1 bacca di vaniglia
  • scorza di 1 limone non trattato
  • 250 ml di panna per dolci
  • semi del baccello di vaniglia
  • 30 g di zucchero a velo


  1. In un pentolino, a fiamma media, portate a leggera ebollizione il latte con il baccello di vaniglia tagliato a metà e la scorza del limone. Togliete dal fuoco e lasciate raffreddare.
  2. Nel mentre in una ciotola lavorate con una frusta i tuorli con lo zucchero fino a farli diventare un po’ spumosi e poi incorporate la farina setacciata. Trasferite in un pentolino.
  3. Togliete dal latte il baccello di vaniglia e la scorza del limone e aggiungetelo a filo al composto di uova, zucchero e farina. Mescolate bene. Tenete da parte il baccello di vaniglia.
  4. Rimettete il pentolino sul fuoco e cuocete a fuoco basso mescolando di continuo per non formare grumi. Lasciate sobbollire finché la crema non si addensa ed una volta pronta lasciatela raffreddare bene. Intanto, in una ciotola larga e profonda montate la panna per dolci con uno sbattitore elettrico e quando avrà raggiunto una consistenza corposa, aggiungete lo zucchero a velo e i semi del baccello di vaniglia e amalgamate bene. Quando la crema pasticcera sarà completamente fredda, unite la crema Chantilly e amalgamate le due creme con una spatola finché non risulterà una crema omogenea. Avrete così la vostra crema diplomatica


  1. In un pentolino versate il succo di frutta e i mirtilli rossi, e riscaldate a fuoco lento.
  2. Cospargete di zucchero e mescolate con cura,per non rompere i mirtilli.
  3. Fate cuocere a fuoco basso fino a che i mirtilli siano ammorbiditi e rugosi, circa 12 minuti. Togliete dal fuoco e lasciate raffreddare.


  1. Nel Pandoro troverete una bustina di zucchero a velo. Versatelo sul Pandoro e agitate finché il Pandoro sia tutto cosparso di zucchero a velo. Poi toglietelo dalla busta e mettetelo su un piatto.
  2. Tagliate il Pandoro in 4 nel senso orizzontale, cominciando dall’alto.
  3. Mettete da parte gli altri strati lasciando sul piatto di portata solo lo strato inferiore.
  4. Prendete la crema diplomatica e spalmatela sul disco inferiore. Se straborda sui lati non importa,
  5. Posizionate il disco successivo sfalzando le punte cominciando così la forma a stella.
  6. Spalmate un altro generoso strato di crema, e passate al disco successivo facendo lo stesso.
  7. Posizionate l’ultimo strato, il più piccolo, sulla torre a stella che si sarà formata. Riempite l’incavo sulla cima del pandoro e riempite con la crema diplomatica. Aggiungete un mucchietto di mirtilli rossi cotti.
  8. Spolverate di zucchero a velo la parte inferiore della Stella di Pandoro.
  9. Infine siate creativi: aggiungete i mirtilli rossi alle punte della stella, ai lati, sulla base del piatto
  10. Colate il succo rimasto dai mirtilli sulla parte superiore e lungo i lati del Pandoro.
  11. Lasciate riposare in frigo per circa 10 minuti prima di tagliare e servire.
  12. La crema diplomatica e i mirtilli rossi avanzati potete aggiungerli sulla fetta di pandoro che andrete a servire.


  • Serving Size: 10-12 porzioni
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[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop, we’ve been compensated but all opinions are our own.]

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  • Avatar
    Reply Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop December 4, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Oh my goodness! This is simply stunning! This would be perfect for any fancy holiday celebration!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 4, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      Thanks Kathy, it is also amazingly good 😊.

  • Avatar
    Reply Demeter | Beaming Baker December 5, 2016 at 7:56 am

    WOW. Just… WOW. You’ve truly made a showstopper, Nicoletta! Also, of course, shoutout to Loreto for cutting such beautiful slices! 😉 All I can think about are holiday festivities when I see this gorgeous cake! Who knew a packaged cake could be crafted into such a beautiful dessert? Love everything about this! It makes me even more excited to see what you two come up with for the holidays. <3

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 5, 2016 at 11:49 am

      Hi Demeter! Thanks for stopping by! This pandoro is a showstopper, and sooo good! It has written holiday festivities all over it, you’re right. Loreto and I we did well 😉 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Adina December 6, 2016 at 9:23 am

    After the fall of comunism in Romania I used to watch Italian television as we only had one Romanian TV channel during those days. So I was fluent in Italian at 13 and every winter I was drooling when the spots concerning these boxes of Panettone or Pandoro would play on TV during each publicity break… I have never had one though… Your Stella di Pandoro looks absolutely amazing, so festive and impressive.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 6, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Thank you Adina, wow, you were fluent in Italian at 13! I guess, those were not easy times, eh? You have to try Pandoro or Panettone, they are so good, even not stuffed. But like this is better 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply karrie @ Tasty Ever After December 6, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    I love hearing about your family’s traditions. So sweet. You and Loreto did a beautiful job with this and the custard cream with the cranberries is gorgeous. I might have to try to pull this one off for Christmas. We have an Italian market right up the street from us and they just got in the most wonderful pandoros. My family will be so impressed with this dessert. Thanks for sharing you two 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 7, 2016 at 8:16 am

      Hi Karrie! It is an impressive dessert, isn’t it? But not that hard to make, considering that the main ingredient, the cake, is already made 🙂 . We have another stuffed pandoro recipe coming up, hope that you get to try one or the other and make it for your guests 🙂 .

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