Wednesday, December 21, 2005


A friend of mine asked me for a Panettone recipe a while ago. I have never made this Milanese sweet bread before; so I eagerly promised that I would make one around Christmas, and post the recipe for her. Initially, I wanted to make my own candied fruit, too; but as time drew near and my things to do list piled up, I decided to make do with what's abundantly available on supermarket shelves these days. My little research revealed that making Panettone was no easy task. In fact, I found out that many authentic sources shunned yeast that comes in packages altogether and they gave instructions that would spread well over several days. Once again, I decided to take the easy route and turned to California Culinary Academy's Breads Book for what is probably a simplified American version of panettone.

The preparation was straightforward except that I did not have the right-sized pan. So I decided to use my adjustable dessert ring. This still was not tall enough; therefore, I made a parchment paper collar for my panettone. The only mishap was that I forgot to secure the overlap of parchment paper. During baking, the dough found an easy route here to overflow. Thanks to the foil lined baking sheet I placed under the ring, cleanup was not difficult; but my panettone did not rise as much as I anticipated and had a decidedly crooked top after the necessary trim. I was happy with the taste, especially considering that I was initially worried about the quantity of yeast the recipe called for. In retrospect, I think that this was necessary because the dough for panettone is quite heavy. Still, if I ever make this again, I will try to use less yeast. Panettone is delicious when lightly toasted. This morning, we topped toasted slices of it with kaymak (Turkish clotted cream) and honey, and it was the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea.

For all kinds of interesting stories about the origin of panettone, refer to this link.
  • 2 packages (4 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 c warm (105-115F) water
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1/4 c warm milk (105-115F)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 c butter, softened
  • 2 tsp grated orange rind
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 3/4 c flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 c Marsala wine (or orange juice)
  • 1/2 c golden raisins
  • 1/3 c slivered candied cherries
  • 1/3 c candied mixed fruits
  • 1/4 c pine nuts or slivered almonds
  • Confectioners' suger to dust the top
Sprinkle yeast over warm water in your mixer's bowl. Add 1 tsp of the sugar and let stand for about 5 minutes for the yeast to be activated.

Add remaining sugar, milk, salt, nutmeg, butter, orange rind and vanilla as well as 2 cups of the flour. First mix to blend; then beat for about 5 minutes until a smooth and elastic dough forms. Next, add the eggs and egg yolks, one at time. Gradually add the remaining 1 3/4 c of flour, beating to incorporate after each addition. After all the flour has been added, beat at medium speed for about 3 more minutes. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl. Cover loosely with a lightly greased plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place for an hour.

Meanwhile, pour Marsala over the raisins in a small bowl and set aside. Grease and lightly dust with flour a 10" tall, 7 1/2" diameter charlotte mold with 9 1/2 to 10 cup capacity. (If you don't have a tall enough mold like me, you can make a parchment paper collar as shown in the small pictures below. Just make sure that you secure the ends of paper.)

At the end of the first rising, punch down the dough. Then stir in the raisin mixture, cherries, candied fruits and almonds until well distributed in the dough.

Place the dough in the prepared mold. Let rise for the second time until it doubles. This rising should take 30 to 45 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 325 F.

Bake until the bread is nicely browned and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean (1 to 1 1/4 hours). Let stand in the mold for about 15 minutes, then unmold and transfer to a rack to cool (rounded side up). Dust the top with confectioners' sugar.