Snacks & Treats
Think Outside The Box: Delicious Panettone Recipe
BY JULIE VAN ROSENDAAL, DINNER WITH JULIE
Dec 9, 2016
Panettone, a rich, buttery, fruit-studded Italian holiday bread, can usually be found in grocery stores and Italian markets during the holiday season, but it’s surprisingly easy to make at home–although more involved than most recipes, it’s not difficult, and a fun project to take on with the kids.
Panettone has become a yearly thing at our house, replacing fruitcake, which is more involved, more expensive, and carries such a stigma. Panettone satisfies that need for candied citron and dried fruit, is delicious toasted with butter, and makes fantastic French toast on Christmas morning if there are any leftovers. Homemade panettone also makes a pretty perfect party gift–it saves you a trip to the liquor store for a bottle of wine, and everyone lights up when they see a festive loaf, wrapped in a new tea towel and tied with a bow. Some years, when we have our act together, we make a day out of delivering them to people we love a couple days before Christmas–it’s nice to know they’ll have it to nibble on throughout the holidays.
The dough itself is fairly simple, and nice to work with with the added butter and eggs, which make it rich and smooth. Orange zest adds a citrus flavour, but is optional. Similarly, you can choose dried fruit you like or have on hand. We like candied citron, currants, raisins and dried cranberries, and finely chopped dried apricots.
Typically, panettone is a tall, round loaf - if you don’t have a panettone mould (we don’t) and you’re making a larger loaf that you want to rise high, it’s simple to make a collar for your deepest round cake pan to help the sides rise even higher.
Make a collar out of a double thickness of parchment that will fit inside the cake tin, staple it at the middle and top to hold it together.
One large round loaf is traditional, but the dough could be made into small, individual buns–divide the dough into balls, let rise in buttered muffin tins and bake for about half the time, or until golden.
- 1/2 cup milk, warmed
- 1 pkg. (2 tsp.) active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- grated zest of an orange (optional)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra if needed
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups dried fruit: raisins, cranberries, candied citrus zest, currants, chopped dried apricots
- 1 egg, for brushing (optional)
- icing sugar, for dusting
Pour the warmed milk in a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast overtop along with a big pinch of the sugar; set aside for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is foamy.
Add the remaining sugar, eggs, orange zest, flour and salt and beat until thick and sticky. Add the remaining flour and the butter and stir until the dough comes together, then knead (by hand or using the dough hook attachment on your mixer) for 6-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic–it should be tacky, but not sticky. Knead in the fruit.
Transfer to an oiled bowl, turn the dough to coat all over, cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for an hour or so, until doubled in bulk. Meanwhile, butter the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan. Punch the dough down and transfer it to the prepared pan. Cover loosely with a tea towel and set aside for another hour, or until the dough rises again.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the top with a little beaten egg and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until deep golden. Cool in the pan on a wire rack, and dust with icing sugar before serving.
Makes 1 panettone.
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