Today is officially the last day of the holiday season in Italy, la befana when the witchy old lady brings candy and gifts to children in their stockings on the night of January 6th.
Since I have been in the process of moving back to the States with my husband, finding an apartment, I haven’t had the concentration or time to work on my blog, but couldn’t finish the holiday season without a post on panettone.
Panttone is originally from Milano, but it is served all over Italy during the holiday season. More than a cake it is a sweet bread with can be filled with candied fruit and raisins. You can find all kinds of panettone in the stores in Italy around Christmastime, artisanal panettone, which are obviously the most delicious, but there are also a number of different industrial panettone on the market, which are more commonly used because of the cost.
You can also try to make it yourself, something that I haven’t tried, but I found this recipe on Epicurious.com and it looks pretty legit!
Panettone from epicurious.com
Makes 2 loaves, Active Time: 45 min, Total Time: 7 3/4 hr
- 1 cup golden raisins (5 oz)
- 1/2 cup sweet Marsala
- 1/2 cup warm milk (105–115°F)
- 2/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from two 1/4-oz packages)
- 3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened, plus additional for buttering cans
- 1 cup diced fine-quality candied citron (not a supermarket brand; 6 oz)
For egg wash
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water
Special equipment: a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment; 2 (10- to 15-oz) clean coffee cans (paper or plastic labels removed); parchment paper
Simmer raisins in Marsala in a small saucepan 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until cooled to room temperature.
Meanwhile, stir together warm milk and 2 teaspoons sugar in bowl of mixer. Sprinkle yeast over mixture and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.) Add 1/4 cup flour and beat at medium speed until combined. Add whole eggs, yolk, zest, lemon juice, salt, and remaining 2/3 cup sugar and beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low, then mix in remaining 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Increase speed to medium-high, then gradually beat in butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to beat until dough is shiny and forms strands from paddle to bowl, 4 to 6 minutes. (Dough will be very soft and sticky.) Drain raisins, discarding Marsala, then add to dough along with candied citron and mix at low speed until incorporated.
Scrape dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 2 to 3 hours.
While dough rises, generously butter coffee cans and line bottom and side of each with parchment (use a round for bottom and a rectangle for side).
Punch down dough with lightly floured hands and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Halve dough and scoop 1 half into each can, pressing gently to expel any air bubbles. Loosely cover cans with lightly buttered plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until dough reaches top of cans, 2 to 3 hours. (Alternatively, let dough rise in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours; bring to room temperature, 3 to 4 hours, before baking.)
Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 375°F.
Beat together yolk and water and lightly brush top of dough with egg wash. Bake until tops are deep golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped (remove from cans first), 35 to 40 minutes. (Firmly thump bottoms of inverted cans to remove.) Transfer loaves to a rack and discard parchment. Cool to room temperature.
Panettone keeps, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and then foil, frozen 3 weeks.