This is called Pan d’oro, or golden bread. It is a panettone, which is a sweet bread, but it is not the classic one we know with the round top, raisins and candied fruit pieces. This is a very tall, star-shaped and airy vanilla bread from Verona that is served covered in zucchero vanigliato, or vanilla scented powdered sugar. Are your teeth hurting yet? Yeah, it’s sweet. It’s a favorite with the kids not only for the sweet bread factor, but also because it’s fun to shake it up in the bag with the sugar. There are always volunteers for that!
This is normally served through the Christmas season when guests come over for caffé, or espresso (even though I prefer it with a glass of Prosecco or Spumante). But after a month of this plain, sweet bread…boring!
When my husband brought home the first strawberries of the season, my synapses started rapidly firing and I quickly joined the heartiness of shortcake with the fluffy flavor of angel food cake--culminating perfectly into Pan d’oro.
Here is what I did with our left-over Pan d’oro:
Strawberry Pan d’Oro
1 Pan d’Oro
4 containers of ripe strawberries
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
1 Tbsp. orange liquor (be liberal with this!)
Whip cream for topping
Slice the strawberries and stir with the sugar, lemon juice and liquor. Let macerate, refrigerated, for about 30 minutes. Prepare your Pan d’oro by shaking it in the provided bag with the powdered sugar. To serve, slice the brown top off the pan d’oro and cut into thick star-shaped slices. Spoon the sliced strawberries over the top and add whip cream.
This puts regular strawberry shortcake to shame!