Panettone vs. Pandoro: The sweet dilemma of Italian Christmases (Part 1) Told by Caterina Bonora (Welcome Centre)
The Panettone and the Pandoro are among the best-known Christmas pastries that, with the due regional differences, most Italians associate with Christmas. Every kid grows up with a preference for one or the other cake (or both!): I was always a Pandoro kid, because I loved the powdered sugar that covers it like snow, and wasn’t so much into the Panettone’s raisins and candied fruits. Nowadays I have come to appreciate both of them, so it is hard to keep a space for both at the end of our plentiful Christmas lunches.
The Milanese-Russian roots of the Panettone
According to one of the various rumors on the Panettone’s disputed origins, the name Panettone comes from “Pan de Toni” (in Milan’s dialect “Toni’s bread”). As the rumor goes, the popular cake dates back to XV-Century Milan ruled by the powerful Sforza family. One Christmas, the family’s chef burnt the Christmas cake, to everyone’s dismay. One of the servants working for the family, Toni, sacrificed the dough he had put together for his own family, from the remnants of the masters’ dinner, to bake an improvised cake, which included eggs, flour, sugar, raisins and candied fruit. The result received so much acclaim that the Sforza decided to name it after their skillful servant Toni. However, the first historical (non-legendary) traces of the Panettone date back to cookbooks of the XIX Century, and it was only in the 1920s that the Motta family further developed the recipe, adding butter and baking powder, probably inspired by a holyday cake typical for the Russian community living in Milan.
...To be continued.