PANETTONE

Ingredients

1 oz. baker’s yeast
3 oz. flour
2 cups flour
7 tbs. sugar
1 whole egg
5 egg yolks
salt
1/2 cup melted butter
6 tbs. raisins, soaked and squeezed
2 oz. candied orange and lemon peel, diced
1 1/2 tbs. butter

How to make the PANETTONE:

Almost every region in Italy has its own Christmas cake, but this Milanese specialty is by far the the most famous and most difficult to make. Panettone is available both in a high, dome-shaped or flat version. Natural yeast (that is, leavened dough) is essential to making a real panettone, because if the cake is made directly from brewer’s yeast, its flavor is less delicate.

Besides, the process of letting the dough rise must be carried out according to very specific instructions so that the result has a soft and airy texture. In any case, rising time depends on many factors: room temperature, the season, the length of the mixing process, etc. The timing given in the recipe for the panettone can therefore only be approximate.

How to make the panettone:  Mix the yeast with the flour and as much water as necessary for the dough to be elastic. Wrap in a towel and put into a warm draft-free place (an unlit oven, for example) until doubled in size (it should take approx. 30 mins) and the surface is uneven. Make a small fontana with 4 tbs. flour. Crumble the dough cake on top of it, add 1/2 cup warm water and knead until the dough is elastic. Let rise in a warm place for 3 hours.

Punch down the dough, and then, knead in another 4 tbs. flour, with as much warm water as necessary. Place the dough in a warm place to rise for 2 hours. Combine the sugar, the whole egg and the yolks. Mix well and cook in a double boiler for a few minutes, beating the mixture with a whisk so that it becomes light and airy. Let cool.

Make another fontana with the remaining flour. Put in a pinch of salt, the risen dough, the butter and the egg mixture into the middle. Knead energetically for 20 min. When the dough is smooth and elastic, add the raisins and candied peel. Grease and flour a sheet of waxed paper and place the dough in the center. Make a ring around it with a rectangular piece of cardboard and let rise in a warm place for at least 6 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Cut a cross on top of the cake with a sharp knife and put 1 tbs. butter in the middle. Cook the panettone in a pre-heated 400°F oven for 40-45 min. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted in the center comes out dry.

Regional recipe from Lombardy