Panettone

With Christmas round the corner, my kitchen has been really smelling heavenly with the baking of fruit cakes and gingerbread cookies. Panettone, is an Italian sweet bread made during Christmas and New Year . It originated in Milan. It is a tall bread baked in special molds. I feel it's a cross between a cake and a bread. Panettone has intrigued me for a long time but somehow could never muster enough courage to try it. A couple of weeks back a fellow blogger 's Christmas menu appeared on my time line. Panettone was listed on it. That's what pushed me to try it this year. I went through a lot of recipes on the internet. Finally followed Laura Vitalie's recipe to a great extent making a few minor changes here and there. Since I didn't have the panettone mold, I created a tall collar and baked it in my 7" round tin. Since I was not sure of the outcome, I have used half the recipe and that's why it is not very tall. I am quite amazed with the outcome. We enjoyed it with a cup of tea in the morning. It is generally served with hot sweet beverages or sweet wine. The crumb is a cross between cake and bread with an amazing aroma of citrus zest. The dry fruits are normally added dry but I soaked them in rum and warm water concoction for 48 hours.

Ingredients All Purpose Flour 1 3/4 cup Eggs 2 Raisins, black currant, cranberries 1/2 cup Rum 1 tbsp Hot water 1 tbsp Warm milk 1/4 cup Yeast 1 tsp Butter 3 tbsp (42gms) Sugar 1/4 cup Orange zest 1/2tbsp Lemon zest 1/2 tbsp Salt 1/2tsp Vanilla extract 1/2 tsp Candied citrus peel 2tbsp. Butter chilled 1/2 tbsp

Method

  • Soak your dry fruits in rum and 1 tbsp hot water 48 hours before you plan to make panettone.

  • On the day of making the bread, strain the dry fruits. Whatever liquid you get ( I got a few drops) , top it with warm milk to make it half cup.

  • Take warm milk in a small pan, sprinkle yeast, 2 tbsp flour and 2 tbsp sugar. Mix it and keep it aside for atleast 30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile mix flour and salt.

  • Whisk eggs, sugar and vanilla.

  • Now add the yeast mixture and egg mixture to the flour. Mix well.

  • Turn it on the counter top and knead for 10 minutes. The dough will be very wet. So kneading with hands is really tough. But I somehow managed it.

  • Now add butter , little at a time and knead to incorporate it.

  • Now add the soaked raisins, citrus zest and candied peel. Knead again for 2 minutes.

  • Keep the dough in a well oiled bowl. Turn over the dough so that it is coated with oil on all sides. Cover it with a cling film and keep it in a warm place.

  • In this weather it will take anywhere between 4-6 hours for the dough to triple in size.

  • Grease and flour a 7" round pan. Cover the bottom with a parchment paper. For the sides prepare a 5" collar with parchment paper.

  • Lightly flour the counter top and carefully take out the proofed dough.

  • The dough will still be very sticky. I used a silicon spatula to stretch and fold the corners to make tight ball.

  • Now carefully lift it and place it in the prepared tin, seam side down. Lightly cover it with a cling film and keep it in a warm place to let it double in size.

  • It will take about 2 hours.

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

  • Bake it for 40-45 minutes. Do a skewer test after 40 minutes. It should come out clean, else bake for some more time.

  • Once done tilt the tin on a wire rack with the support of a couple of kitchen towels rolled up. Let it cool completely , before you remove it from the tin.

  • Cut into wedges and serve warm.

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