Eating panettone is something I remember since I was a little girl celebrating Christmas in Sicily and here in Florida. Christmas just wouldn’t seem the same without a slice of fluffy panettone. I know not every child loves the candied fruits in it. I was one that did and looked for slices with extra pieces of the citrus bites.
I love baking Christmas breads and especially breads from different countries. I have been trying some new recipes these weeks and will share some in the next couple weeks. The traditional way to make panettone requires lots of time (over 40 hours) and oodles of patience, with great rewards. I thought it would be fun to try a quicker version and see how it came out. I’m thrilled to be featured today in the Palm Beach Post for A Cozy Christmas Breakfast., in their food and dining section. Along with this panettone, there is the lovely Christmas stollen I shared here a couple weeks ago and this torta salata that I can’t get enough of. What are your Christmas breakfast traditions? (I wasn’t going to take a photo of the paper. My mom is here and told me she’s proud of me and that I need to do include. Thanks, mom)
A little history of panettone I found on Gourmet Traveller:
There are almost as many legends attached to the history of panettone as there are versions of the bread. But a common thread is its place and time of origin – Milan, dating back, in one form or another, to the Roman Empire, when ancient Romans sweetened leavened bread with honey. Even the origins of panettone’s name are somewhat mysterious. Some historians claim it derives from the Italian “panetto”, meaning small bread loaf. Conversely, panettone literally means large bread. Or it may have come about at the time of its first recorded association with Christmas, which occurred in the writings of an 18th-century illuminist who referred to it as pane di tono, meaning luxury bread. But it wasn’t until the early 20th century that panettone became widely adopted by Italians as their Christmas bread. This was due to large-scale production by two rival bakers, Angelo Motta and Gioacchino Alemagna. The two family companies were bought out by Nestlé in the late 1990s, and they have since been taken over by the Italian bakery company Bauli.
Bauli makes more than one thousand products, and is Italy’s leading maker of holiday cakes-panettone, pandoro, and colomba. Ah, colomba! My mother-in-law saves us colomba from Bauli that she buys during Easter time for us to have in June when we visit her. The Bauli factory uses its own lievito madre-fermented dough, in all of its breads. They attribute this mother dough to the secret to Bauli panettone’s long shelf-life and smooth texture.
I had my doubts that it could be as wonderful as the recipe that takes over a day to make. This panettone was delicious with a perfect crumb. I asked my husband what did it seem like to him. He said, “A panettone.” Coming from a chef that is from Italy, I was satisfied that it was a great recipe to share with all of you. I know I’m always encouraging you to bake your own bread and I understand that the time is sometimes difficult to find. But if you find a day with your little ones or grandkids and you want to try making your own bread, give this recipe a try. Take out your bundt pan and get it ready to bake a delightful bread for Christmas morning or any morning.
Slightly adapted from: Baking Bites
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine), warm (110F)
1/4 cup butter, very soft
3 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup diced dried apricots
1/3 cup candied orange peel
Grease a 10 or 12-cup bundt pan well with butter or cooking spray.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine 3/4 cup flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Whisk together to combine.
Add in the milk and very soft butter; beat mixture for two minutes at medium speed. Mixture should be smooth. Add in eggs, one at a time, waiting until each has been fully incorporated to add the next. Add in an additional 1/2 cup of flour and beat for three more minutes at medium-high speed. Beat in the remaining flour creating a thick batter. Cover the bowl and let rest for 10 minutes.
Stir in raisins, apricots and candied orange peel. Spoon in evenly around prepared bundt pan and level it out with a spatula. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F.
Bake panettone for 30-35 minutes, until an internal read thermometer inserted into the center of the bread reads about 200F. Bread will be golden and should spring back when lightly touched.
Let stand for 15 minutes, then remove bread from pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Sift a bit of powdered sugar over the panettone before serving, if desired.
buon appetito and happy baking!