This is a revved up version of the traditional Italian Christmas cake. Originally a Milanese specialty, panettone is now popular all over Italy and excellent versions are made by both industrial and artisanal bakeries. I make one version or another of panettone around Christmas—it reminds me of my childhood when we hardly ever ate anything that wasn’t Italian. A good panettone is moist and flavorful. In Italy it is almost always made with sourdough starter—flour and water that ferments and develops organisms that produce lactic acid, among other things, thus retarding staling and preventing mold from forming. You can bake a perfectly good panettone at home, by just using an envelope or so of yeast from the supermarket. The version here is a new one I like a lot—most other people like it, too, because it omits everyone’s least favorite ingredient, candied fruit. See the variation for a more traditional approach to flavoring.
Dust the panettone lightly with confectioners’ sugar just before serving. Serve the panettone around the Christmas holidays with tea or coffee.
After the panettone has cooled, double wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it at room temperature for a few days. Freeze for longer storage. Defrost and bring to room temperature before serving.
Omit the fresh and crystallized ginger. Reduce the amount of golden raisins to
© 2008 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.