Panettone (paan eh tony) bread is one of my favorite things to make for Christmas. It is better than cookies and it’s pretty! I love pretty on my Christmas table. The light and airy sweet bread also accents the heavier foods we stuff ourselves with at holiday meals.
When I first saw this made, there were so many pieces, I was completely bored. Not sure about y’all, but when I first started cooking, I wanted pretty, fun AND easy. This was less than fun. Then I tasted it and my goodness, I was hooked. I HAD to learn how to make this! Did I mention it was pretty? That year, I made so many, we gave out individual panettones as gifts to everyone we knew. It was for practice, y’all!! I remember that like it was yesterday. There might’ve been some funny looks when I went to the grocery store for oranges, lemons, raisins and rum extract three times in one day.
Now, it is fun and such an ingrained tradition that it has become beautiful for a different reason. The few things I learned along the way, 1) NO, it is not Italian fruit cake. 2) Yes, it takes a longtime, but it is totally worth it. 3) use whatever accents you want, fruit,different fruit, chocolate or none. They will all taste good.
Just this past week, I made my momma one and brought it to her work, so she could share. I loved getting the text messages about how much everyone loved this panettone. Fun, pretty and compliments, I am in!! 😉
The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
GOOD FOOD. GOOD FRIENDS. GOOD TIMES
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Panettone aka: Italian Christmas BreadPrint This
- 4 Tablespoons milk, warmed to 100-110F
- 1 Tablespoon yeast
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup butter (16 Tablespoons), softened
- 5 large eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 ½ tablespoons orange zest
- 4 ½ cups flour, plus extra for dusting
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup raisins
- 3 Tablespoons rum extract
- ½ cup candied orange peel, finely chopped
- ¼ cup candied lemon peel, finely chopped
- 1 egg white
- 3 Tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, separated
- Combine warm milk, yeast and 1 tsp sugar in a bowl. Set aside and let foam for 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of a mixer, cream together remaining sugar, butter and vanilla. It will become light and fluffy (about 4-5 minutes).
- Turn mixer to low, add lemon and orange zest. Then add eggs one at a time and mix until all are well incorporated.
- Whisk flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and fold in the yeast and egg mixtures.
- Using bread hook, knead for 5-6 minutes until the mixture starts to come together. The dough will be very sticky and won’t be a smooth ball of dough.
- Pour the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, by hand. Keep your hands and board well-floured to prevent dough from sticking and tearing.
- Put dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and keep in a warm place for 2 hours, until dough has doubled in size.
- During the 2 hour rise, prepare your candied orange and lemon peels. Place the raisins in a small saucepan with the rum extract and heat on low for 5 minutes. Set all fruits aside to cool.
- When dough has doubled, turn it out on a lightly floured board and knead for another 5 minutes. Gradually knead in raisins, candied orange peels and candied lemon peels.
- Shape the dough into a ball and drop into prepared Panettone pan/pans. If you do not have a metal panettone pan, wrap each Panettone paper wrapper with parchment paper and baker’s string. This helps the dough cook upright instead of out. Cover in plastic wrap and let rest for about 90 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325F and place rack in the middle of the oven.
- Remove the plastic wrap and brush the top of the Panettones with egg wash and sprinkle sugar over the top. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.
- When done, pull bread out and allow to cool completely. Remove baker’s string and let rest.
Optional: Dust the top with confectioner’s sugar when ready to serve.
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