PandoroPandoro and Panettone are delicious traditional Italian sweet yeast breads, most popular around Christmas and other special occasions, but can be eaten all the year round.
Pondoro is shaped like a fluted cone. Using a serrated knife, slice into pieces to be eaten as is, or dipped into coffee, tea, milk...
The traditional panss are made of tinned steel, and can be quite versatile in shape. Glass is easy to use, and accommodates the microwave. Parchment paper molds are ok to use in the oven for baking sweets, since the temperature used is well below the burning point. Parchment is convenient, since you can serve the baked panettone (which will look like a chef hat or mushroom) right in its paper mold. You can cut slices through the paper, too.
Pandoro appeared on the scene in remote times, the product of the ancient art of breadmaking, as the name, "golden bread," suggests. Throughout the Middle Ages, white bread was consumed solely by the rich, while the common people could only afford black bread and, often, not even that. Sweet breads were reserved to the nobles. Breads enriched with eggs, butter and sugar or honey were served in the palaces and were known as "royal bread" or "golden bread".
The desserts consumed in the 17th century were described in the book Suor Celeste Galilei, Letters to Her Father, published by La Rosa of Turin, and they included "royal bread" made from flour, sugar, butter and eggs. However, the bread was already known and appreciated in the ancient Rome of Pliny the Elder, in the 1st century. That bread was made with "the finest flour combined with eggs, butter and oil." Virgil and Livy mentioned the preparation under the name Libum.
There are those who see the French brioche as the ancestor of Pandoro and those who regard it as a derivative of the Viennese art of pastrymaking, even if that school is itself of French derivation. However the first citation of a dessert clearly identified as Pandoro dates to the 18th century. The dessert certainly figured in the cuisine of the Venetian aristocracy. Venice was the principal market for spices as late as the 18th century as well as for the sugar that by then had replaced honey in European pastries and breads made from leavened dough. And it was at Verona, in Venetian territory, that the formula for making pandoro was developed and perfected, a process that required a century. The modern history of this dessert bread began at Verona in October 30, 1894, when Domenico Melegatti obtained a patent for a procedure to be applied in producing pandoro industrially.
By 1894, when pandoro entered the annals of Italian confectionery, it had long been a traditional practice at Verona for pastry cooks to go to Vienna to learn their craft. Until a few decades ago, the oldest pastry shops in the historic center of Verona employed Austrian pastry chefs and Veronese bakers would customarily go to Vienna's famous Sacher to train.