Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Panetonne ~ Just out of our Cooking Vacations' oven! ~Italian Christmas Bread

Panetonne is a sweet Christmas bread that was first created in Milan in a small bakery for love. Noble man, Ugheto Atellani, had fallen in love with the poor baker’s daughter, Adalgisa. In order to win her love, he disguised himself as a peasant and offered to work in the bakery. With is wealth, he added lots of butter and candied fruit to the recipe and before you knew it, the simple Medieval bread became a hit. Word of mouth spread, and soon there were a line around the small bakery for Panettone. Eventually the baker, Ugheto confessed what he had done, asked for Adalgisa’s hand in marriage and the couple set their engagement. The duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza arranged the wedding and even Leonardo da Vinci attended. Panetonne was served as the wedding cake and the couple lived happily ever after. Shaped in the form of a cupola, Panetonne recipes vary using pistachio, lemon and orange zest, rum, and even Strega liquer then elaborately decorated.

Cooking Vacations

For the Starter

• 3/4 cup of flour

• 1/16 teaspoon (just a pinch) instant yeast

• 1/3 cup cool water

For the Dough

• All of the starter (mixture from above)

• 2 1/4 cups flour

• 1/4 cup lukewarm water

• 2 large eggs

• 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) softened butter

• 1 vanilla bean, slit open

• 1 tablespoon instant yeast

• 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt

• 1/3 cup sugar

• 1/2 cup raisins, pre~soaked in rum or Vin Santo is better!

• 1/2 cup lemon or orange naturally candied fruit

• 1/4 cup of crushed almonds, unshelled

• 1/4 cup of crushed pistachios, unshelled

A handful of whole almonds for garnishing

• 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest, from an unwaxed lemon

Sugar pearls for decorating


Mix together all the ingredients for the starter in a wide mixing bowl. When well mixed, leave to rest overnight.

For the Dough

Combine all of the ingredients for the except the fruit, and mix and knead them together by preferably in a mixer with a hoop or by hand, until the dough is soft and workable.

Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. It will be light and airy.

Gently deflate the dough, and knead in the fruits and zest.

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a panettone paper lining. Cover and let the dough rise until it's just crested over the rim for approximately 1 hour. Sprinkle a handful of almonds and course sugar, before putting in the oven, on top of the bread.

Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 10 minutes then reduce the oven heat to 350°F and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. When baked, remove the panettone from the oven and leave to cool. Slice and serve with a hot cappuccino or cold Prosecco.