And its the time for holidays and merrymaking to usher in a fresh new year! No better way of doing it than celebrating with this fresh sweet bread: Panettone. Originally from Milan, it has now become very popular across Europe, America, Australia and Canada. With its dome-like shape characteristics, with a cylindrical base and a deliciously distinctive fluffy flavourful interior, Panettone is a unique holiday treat.
You can add so many surprises like candied orange, lemon zest, raisin, almond, chocolates and more. Served in the shape of a triangular wedge, comforting hot drinks like cocoa or coffee or even liquor and wine can make a great accompaniment with panettones. Or savour it as a breakfast dish or post-dinner. The word “Panettone” itself means a large cake is pronounced as "pah-net-taw-nee," and its history dates back to the Roman Empire!
So, serve it with mascarpone cream or melted chocolate sauce, caramel or maple syrup, or toast it and butter generously, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or drizzle with honey: Panettone is one of the Italian Christmas delights.
Preparation, Resting & Baking Time
60 ml lukewarm water
550 g Italian type 00 flour
20 g aniseed (use fennel if unavailable)
juice and zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp honey
170 g white sugar
85 g unsalted butter
20 ml olive oil, plus extra to grease
4 eggs, 2 whole, 2 separated
2 small pinches salt
Combine the yeast, 60 ml lukewarm water and 50 g flour. Let it sit in a warm place for about 20 minutes or until it bubbles and has doubled in size. In the meantime, soak the aniseed in the orange juice along with the citrus juice, zest, and honey.
First rising: When the starter looks doubled in size, add half of the remaining ingredients, that is 250 g flour, 85 g sugar, 43 g butter, 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk, 10 ml olive oil, 1 small pinch salt, along with half of the aniseed mixture.
Combine well, and knead until it forms an elastic, slightly sticky dough. Place the dough in a large bowl, covered with a tea towel or cling film, and let rise in a warm place until it is very soft—about 1 ½ hours.
Second rising: grease a round, deep 20–26 cm diameter deep cake pan/tin or souffle dish (for its depth). Add everything else to the soft risen dough, and then place it in the prepared cake pan/tin or souffle dish. Let the dough rise, covered, in a warm place again, for 3 hours to overnight. The dough should have risen about 3 times its original volume.
To bake: preheat the oven to 150°C and place a small saucepan filled with water in the bottom of the oven to help keep the oven humid and create a nice crust. Brush the top of the dough with the reserved egg whites and bake for 50 minutes or until cooked through and dark brown on top (it won’t rise much further as it has already risen before baking).
Cool slightly in the pan, then carefully remove and cool on a wire rack.
This keeps well for about a week, wrapped in cling film, but like panettone, it’s delicious as it grows stale, and makes the best bread and butter pudding.