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.
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.
Christmas in Italy
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 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.
Stella di Pandoro
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 was the one who would 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.
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.
Stella di Pandoro with Chantilly Custard Cream and Cranberries
We decide to kick it up a notch and make lemon pastry cream (crema al limone) 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. We cook the cranberries in fruit juice and a bit of sugar, to caramelize and soften them and give the pandoro that festive look.
How to assemble
- 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 star shape.
- I spread the crema on each layer, 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.
We stare at our creation and it's absolutely beautiful. It has Christmas written all over it.
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.
Ricetta in Italiano: Stella di pandoro con Crema Diplomatica e Mirtilli RossiPrint
[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop, we’ve been compensated but all opinions are our own.]