Look at her! What an (almost) beauty! (She didn’t rise quite as much as hoped.) I am so excited that I actually made an edible homemade version of that ever-present Italian Christmas treat – the boxed panettone! This festive treat always evokes warm memories of Christmas at my relatives where boxes of this holiday favorite were stacked high on the tables. To be fair, I have yet to have the official blinded taste test….that will have to wait until my brother arrives tomorrow and then we will have a complete panel for the official event. But if my taste buds are any indication, I would say that my yummy raisin and gold toned beauty is the winner over the boxed version. I searched high and low for panettone recipes and found that reviews kept referencing a Gourmet magazine version from 2008. I finally found a version online. It is fairly straightforward and the only big omission is that it requires a bit of patience – the first rise took over 15 hours! …the second around 5. But if you are inclined to give this a whirl, simply pour yourself some Christmas cheer and sit back and wait – perhaps in a bubbly bath or next to a festive Christmas tree or…..
I have included the recipe exactly as found. Thank you, Gourmet. (We miss you!!)
Buon Natale and buon appetito!
Panettone (Adapted from Jim Lahey. From Gourmet Magazine, December 2008)
1 cup raisins
2 tbsp light rum
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp active dry yeast (from a 1/4 ounce package)
1/4 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 tbsp mild honey
12 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter (10 1/2 tbsp cut into tablespoons and well softened; 1 tbsp melted; and 1 tbsp chilled)
2/3 cup candied citron, chopped
Soak raisins in rum and 2 tbsp hot water at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until raisins are plump and most of liquid has been absorbed, 8 hours or overnight.
Mix flour, sugar, salt, yeast, zest, and vanilla bean in mixer at low speed until combined. Whisk together eggs, 2/3 cup tepid water, and honey then pour egg mixture into flour mixture. Increase speed to medium-low and mix to combine. Add 10 1/2 tbsp softened butter, 1 tbsp at a time, mixing until incorporated before adding the next. Increase speed to medium-high and mix until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
Drain raisins and mix with citron and 1 tbsp melted butter. Stir into the dough with a wooden spoon.
Place dough in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a cold oven with the door closed until nearly tripled in volume, 12 to 15 hours.
Pull vanilla bean out of dough, then sprinkle dough with flour and turn out onto lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with a bit more flour, then fold edges of dough into centre and fit dough ball, seam side down, in a 6″ x 4.5″ cylindrical paper panettone mould*. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature fro about 3 to 5 hours, until dough is just above top of mould.
Preheat oven to 370F. Put rack in lower third of oven. Place dough in mould on baking sheet and with a knife score an “X” across the entire surface of the dough. Place remaining tbsp chilled butter in centre of X and bake until a wooden skewer inserted in centre comes out moist but not wet, about 1-1.5 hours. (Panettone will darken).
Pierce two 12″ skewers (metal or bamboo) completely through the base of the panettone (including the paper) 4″ apart and about 1″ from bottom so that skewers are parallel. Hang panettone upside down over a large stockpot or between two chairs to cool completely before cutting.