Panettone

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Panettone is a traditional Italian Christmas cake, which hails from the city of Milan. Despite having some Italian ancestry myself, I’d never tried this light and fluffy cake loaf. Madame Fermier on the other hand, couldn’t celebrate Christmas without it, and so I was introduced to this breakfast come dessert by her family and now, I couldn’t go without it either. Traditionally in Italy it’s taken with a side of limoncello as more of an after meal dessert, but I love mine with a side of freshly brewed black coffee for breakfast – perfect for Christmas morning while unwrapping gifts! They make great gifts too, and you can even buy molds in mini-versions for a one-serve wonder.

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Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbsp warm water
  • 2 packet dry yeast (7 g each)
  • 500g plain flour
  • 125mL warm milk
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 yolk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 30 ml vanilla essence
  • 170g butter
  • 3 oranges zest
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 200g mixed peels
  • 80g sultanas or raisins
  • 80g glace cherries
  • 60mL Limoncello

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Method:

  1. To make a starter sprinkle 1 packet of dry yeast over the warm water in a small bowl and let it dissolve. Then mix through 60g of flour, cover with cling film and leave it to rest until it doubles in size.
  2. Sprinkle the left over yeast over the warm milk and let it dissolve
  3. In an electric mixer bowl, whisk the egg, sugar, vanilla seeds and limoncello for 2 minutes on medium speed, just enough to dissolve the sugar, then add the milk/yeast mixture
  4. Dice the butter and combine it with the remaining the flour. With the tip of your fingers mix them together until you have a sand-like mixture.
  5. Add the starter to the egg mixture and whisk on medium speed until well combine.
  6. Slowly add the butter/flour mix and knead on high speed until the dough become slightly elastic, then add the mixed peels, cherries and raisins, mix well until combined.
  7. Form a uniform ball and place it in a slightly oiled bowl, brush the top with vegetable oil, loosely cover with glad wrap and leave to rest until it triple in size (about 2-2 ½ hours in a warm place).
  8. Take the dough out of the bowl and put it on a lightly floured bench. Divide it into 70g portions for mini Panettone or 800g for big ones.
  9. Lightly spray the mold and place a ball in each one. Loosely cover with glad wrap and leave to rest until double in size (about 1 ½ hours for the minis 2 ½ for the big ones).
  10. In the mean time preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (392 F).
  11. With oiled scissors, cut a cross on top of the Panetone. Gently brush them with egg wash (2 eggs whisked with 50mL milk).
  12. Bake for 9 minutes at 200 degrees and then a further 9 minutes at 180 (350 F) for the mini ones. For the big Panettone, bake for 10 minutes at 200 degrees, and a further 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Use a skewer to know if it’s cooked, if it comes out clean when you pick through the Panettone then it’s ready!
  13. Once cooked place them on a cooling rack.
  14. Serve with fresh coffee for a Christmas morning breakfast treat or as dessert with a glass of Limoncello after a delicious Christmas lunch or dinner.

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