Panettone

A speciality bread-like cake from Milan, now eaten all over Italy during Christmas and Easter. Easily recognised by its tall, large cylindrical shape (panettone means ‘big bread’), it is made from a raised dough enriched with eggs and contains sultanas or raisins, and candied orange and lemon peel. Panettone can be made in individual portions or in one large cake. It can be eaten for breakfast with coffee or it may be served as a dessert with liqueur wine.

Ingredients

  • 90 g ( oz/½ cup) mixed peel
  • 60 g ( oz/½ cup) sultanas
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon brandy or rum
  • 2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 220 ml ( fl oz) warm milk
  • 60 g ( oz/¼ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 400 g (14 oz/ cups) white strong flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150 g ( oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 20 g (¾ oz) unsalted butter, melted, to glaze

Method

  1. Put the mixed peel, sultanas and grated lemon and orange zest in a small bowl. Add the brandy, mix well and set aside.
  2. Put the yeast, milk and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a small bowl and stir well. Leave in a draught-free place for 10–15 minutes, or until foamy.
  3. Sift 200 g (7 oz) of the flour and ½ teaspoon salt into a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture. Mix together with a large spoon to form a soft dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to ‘sponge’ and rise in a draught-free place for 45 minutes, or until bubbles appear on the surface.
  4. Add the eggs, remaining sugar and vanilla and mix. Add the butter and stir until well combined. Stir in the remaining flour and mix well. Knead well on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic. You may need to add up to 60 g ( oz/½ cup) more flour to the dough as you knead. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and leave in a draught-free place for 1½–2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  5. Lightly grease a 15 cm (6 inch) round cake tin and line the base and side with a double thickness of baking paper, ensuring the collar extends above the rim of the tin by 10 cm (4 inches).
  6. Knock back the dough and turn out onto a floured work surface. Roll into a 30 × 20 cm (12 × 8 inch) rectangle. Drain the fruit mixture and spread half the fruit over the surface of the dough. Fold over the short edges like an envelope to cover the fruit. Roll again and repeat the process to incorporate all the fruit. Gently knead the dough for 2–3 minutes and shape into a neat ball. Place in the tin, brush with the melted butter, then slash a cross on the top with a sharp knife and leave to rise again in a draught-free place for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  7. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/Gas 5). Bake for 50 minutes, or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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