January 6, 2017 — Dessert

Panettone Pandoro Chocolate Tiramisu

  • 1 hour and a half
  • 8 PEOPLE
  • medium

Tiramisu is everybody's favourite pudding. Here's a great adaptation using leftover panettone.

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What you need

For the panettone

1 x 500g pandora panettone


For the custard sauce

250g mascarpone

300ml store-bought custard


500ml whole milk

6 large eggs – yolks only

100g sugar

1tsp corn starch (optional)


For the chocolate sauce

200ml water

150ml single cream

45g cocoa

70g dark chocolate

60g sugar


For the topping

250ml double cream

50ml grated dark chocolate


Dad's Recipe Tales

What is a panettone?

A classic traditional panettone is a wonder of heady vanilla and almond perfume, sweetness and fruit and delightful texture – soft and light, structured and yielding. It’s allure is due to the enigmatic nature of the product itself: the long proved, sweet dough makes a loaf that is not quite a cake and not quite bread – but something satisfyingly in-between. Many traditional cakes come with an option for extra sweetness and have a ‘glassato’ topping of ‘pearled’ sugar and nuts. I’m happy to munch this crunchy struesel-like crust when it’s there, but otherwise the cake is perfect as it is. Unfortunately, some commercial panettone bakers have decided that cake can still be improved upon and produce luxury versions that are flavoured with, amongst other things, chocolate or vanilla crème, wine, liqueur and chocolate chips. These extra fancy elements may seem like a good idea, but amount to nothing more than the guilding a very nice lily.

The dilemma of the unwanted panettone…

It happens now and then that a household might find itself with a glut of Christmas panettones. The Italian cakes are traditionally given as gifts, so it is entirely possible after the generous reception of many panettones, that one or two might remain surplus to requirements. Some may be left and forgotten because not everybody is a fan of panettone. Sadly there may also be the odd specimen left uneaten because it was dry or not nice to eat. So, what to do with the leftover, unwanted panettone? Don’t throw it away – with a little nous and culinary adventure it is possible to turn even a dried-out flavorless panettone into a delicious dessert.

…and what to do with it.

When devising new recipes with panettone, it’s imperative to ensure that it will complement whatever ingredients might be already in the panettone. If making a bread and butter pudding with panettone, follow any recipe for bread and butter pudding but cut back on the butter and fruit, both of which appear in the cake in abundance. A layered pudding could be made using traditional  or chocolate chip panettone with chocolate ganache and whipped cream. Perhaps a similar layer custard dessert could be constructed with vanilla crème panettone.

A Pandoro tiramisu

A standard fruit panettone would be too rich in a tiramisu-based pudding, so use a pandoro or ‘golden bread’ version of panettone instead. It’s plain (without fruit) and generally not as rich as standard panettone and takes the chocolate and crème flavours well. My recipe uses a thicker chocolate sauce to avoid excess soggyness. It might be more posh trifle than true tiramisu – but I reckon it’s all the better for it.

How Dad Cooked It

The structure of a tiramisu is a series of layers of wet, but not mushy, biscuit with a layer of thick mixed mascarpone, eggs and sugar. You can use Savoiardi  ‘lady fingers’ or the same type of biscuit made by Pavesi. Both are ‘low density’ i.e. full of air, but they have a hard, dry and rigid structure. This allows them to be drenched, typically, in black coffee and liqueur for a traditional tiramisu. The raw egg and sugar stabilise the mascarpone to form a more solid layer of cream. By all means use these biscuits instead for this recipe (though make the chocolate sauce more liquid with additional water). My idea came from an Italian relative who makes a tiramisu for children using chocolate instead of coffee. However, the raw egg concerns me, so I made a fundamental shift in method by using a crème anglais, which contains cooked egg. The extra viscosity of the chocolate combined with the extra thinness of the cream layers, gives the pudding the quality of a refined trifle. But I stand by my guns and present this as a passable alternative tiramisu.

Equipment: 2ocm x 28cm dish – at least 6cm deep

  1. Cut and dry the pandora. Cut the pandora into slices about 15mm deep. Drying is optional (the point is to achieve the texture of an ‘old and dried-out’ panettone or the dry and crisp quality of a lady finger). To dry the panettone put the slices on the middle racks in an oven set to the lowest temperature. Heat for 45 minutes to and hour – then let the bread air in the oven with the heat off for another hour. NB: You may not need all the slices depending on the size of your dish.
  2. Make the crème anglais (if using). Beat the egg yolks with the sugar. (If using cornstarch mix with a little cold milk and add to the milk during the next stage.) In a thick bottomed pan, heat the milk to just below a simmer. Pour the milk into the egg mix, continuing to whisk as you pour. Return the mix to the pan and heat on a very low heat (ideally with a heat diffuser – or use a bain marie). Stir with a flat wooden spatula until the custard thickens – this takes quite a while and needs patience and constant stirring. Cool completely.
  3. Make the chocolate sauce. Put all the ingredients at once into a heavy bottomed pan and heat very gently. Whisk to make a smooth thin sauce.
  4. Make the custard sauce. Whisk the store bought or crème anglais into the mascarpone to make a smooth thick custard.
  5. Build the tiramisu. (It is worth doing a initial trial run with just the pandora slices to judge the number of layers. Allow sufficient custard to cover each layer.) Start by pouring a little of the custard sauce on the bottom of the dish to make an even thin layer. Put the chocolate sauce in a suitable dish for dipping. Dip the pandora in the sauce on all the top and bottom and ensure that it has time to soak into the cake a little. Layer the pandora in the dish to make a complete layer – filling gaps if necessary. Pour over some of the custard mix on top of the pandora. Repeat the process until the tiramisu is built to just under the top of the dish.
  6. Finish the tiramisu. Whip the cream for the topping and sprinkle over the grated chocolate. It will benefit from a few hours in the refrigerator before serving.
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