We don't have a fireplace, how are we going to eat the panettone?
It was Sarah from Maison Cupcake who made me puzzle over this question by setting this month's Fresh from the Oven challenge to be Panettone. Of course there's no need to have a fireplace in order to eat panettone, but we've eaten it only that way.
Several years back, the day after Christmas, we were having our five o'clock coffee with Ivan's parents in their home. Ivan's father had just returned from a business trip to Italy and had brought along many delicious treats for us, one of those being panettone.
We were sipping our coffee, trying from the various sweets, having sweet talks and waiting in anticipation. Ivan's father had placed the panettone(as it is in its cellophane wrap) in front of the burning fireplace. He's been rotating the loaf once in a while and when it got warm and buttery from all the sides, he shook the cellophane wrap vigorously and all the icing sugar glued to the buttery crust. Usually I do hate sweets with icing and sugar on top, but when it's about panettone – bring it sugary! Besides of being cozy, the warmth of the fireplace makes the panettone melt in your mouth. It's a mere bliss.
From that 5 o'clock coffee on we've been eating panettone only when visiting Ivan's parents, in front of the fireplace. Till now.
But panettone is good no matter where you eat it, since it brings the cozyness of the coming holidays – my favourite time of the year.
I wanted the loaf to be loaded with dry fruits and considering that I put 200 grams of candied and dry fruits (that look like quite a lot) the end result wasn't as exuberant as desired, so the next time I'm making it I'll try with 300 grams of fruits. And surely I'll make it soon, to bring along to Vetren where we could enjoy it in front of the fireplace.
Makes 1 loaf (15cm in diameter)
- 400 gr all purpose flour, sifted;
- 80 gr confectionner's sugar, sifted;
- 15 gr fresh yeast;
- 120 gr whole milk, lukewarm;
- 100 gr soft butter;
- 2 eggs;
- 4 gr salt;
- zest of 1 lemon;
- 200 gr candied and dry fruits – we used 65 gr candied orange peel, 35 gr dry apricots, 50 gr sultanas, 30 gr sour cherries soaked in rum, 20 gr dry cranberries.
- Butter and confectionner's sugar for finishing.
In a small bowl, prepare the sponge by combining milk and yeast, stir to dissolve the yeast. Then add in 100 gr of the flour, cover and leave it to double in bulk.
In a large bowl, combine the rest of the flour, sugar, salt, lemon zest, mix well. Then add in the sponge, soften butter and eggs. Mix using your hand or stand mixer till dough forms and then for 10 more minutes to develop the gluten. Cover and leave it to double in bulk, but do not leave it in a warm place in order not to let the butter melt. In our kitchen it's 18ºC (in the winter), so the temperature is ok, but if you wish you could leave the dough in the fridge overnight.
When doubled, knock the dough down. Give it a quick knead in order to let the gas escape and while kneading incorporate the fruits. Form the dough as a ball and transfer it to a lined with paper baking dish – we have no panettone dish so we used a 15 cm oven-proof double bottom saucepan. Cover the dish with a clean towel and leave the dough to double again.
Preheat the oven to 200º C with the rack on the lower third of the oven. Dot the top of the panettone with butter and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180º C and bake for 40 more minutes.
Remove from the oven, spread a generous quantity of butter on top of the hot panettone, then sprinkle with confectionner's sugar.
In a couple of days the round-up will be on the Fresh from the Oven site, so go there to see how everybody's panettones have turned out.