Panettone Holiday Fruitcake

Panettone - Italian Christmas Cake
Panettone - Italian Christmas Cake Anthony Masterson/Getty
Prep: 12 hrs
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 13 hrs
Servings: 36 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
107 Calories
7g Fat
10g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 36
Amount per serving
Calories 107
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 47mg 16%
Sodium 72mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 2g
Calcium 16mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Panettone (panetón in Spanish) is a sweet yeasted bread originally from Italy that has become one of the most important holiday traditions in South America. It's a brioche dough filled with dried fruits and nuts and baked in round decorative paper molds. The dough rises several times, which develops the flavor and texture of the bread.

Panettone is traditionally enjoyed in Latin America on Christmas eve with hot chocolate. But it will make delicious toast and french toast the next morning, as well as fantastic bread pudding (if there's any leftover). Panettones keep very well and make excellent holiday gifts.


  • 2 1/4 cups flour (divided)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast (divided)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 12 tablespoons softened butter (divided)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons good quality vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon orange extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (chopped fine)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins (chopped fine)
  • 1/2 cup pecans (chopped fine)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar (sifted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Steps to Make It

  1. Make the Sponge: Place 1 1/2 cups flour, 2/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons apricot jam, and 1 teaspoon yeast in a small bowl and whisk together. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rest for 3 hours.

  2. Make the Dough: In the bowl of a standing mixer, add the sponge, 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon yeast. Use the hook attachment to knead the dough until the mixture is smooth and stretchy, about 3-5 minutes.

  3. Add 3 egg yolks, one at a time, and knead until dough is smooth, shiny, and stretchy.

  4. Cover dough with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

  5. Return dough to the mixer, and add salt, vanilla, lemon and orange flavoring, honey, and 1 teaspoon yeast. Knead for 1 minute.

  6. Add 3 egg yolks and knead until incorporated. Add the 12 tablespoons of softened butter, one tablespoon at a time. Knead until dough is soft, shiny and very stretchy, about 5 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl.

  7. Toss the chopped raisins, cherries and pecans with 2 tablespoons of flour. Add them to the dough and knead briefly, until just mixed in.

  8. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

  9. The next morning, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a ball. Place dough inside of a 6-inch diameter panettone mold, or use a clean, buttered coffee can lined with parchment paper. Make a small cross in the top of the dough with scissors.

  10. Let dough rise in a warm place until tripled in size, which may take several hours since the dough is cold from the refrigerator.

  11. Preheat the oven to 375 F for 30 minutes.

  12. Place the panettone in the oven, and lower the oven temperature to 325 F.

  13. Bake the panettone for about 1 hour, until it has risen high and springs back a little when pressed on top (like a muffin).

  14. Let panettone cool in the pan on a rack.

  15. Make icing (optional): Melt 2 tablespoons butter, and whisk into 1 cup powdered sugar. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, a pinch of salt, and 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle icing decoratively over top of panettone.

  16. Store panettone wrapped in plastic for up to 1 week.

Note: Traditional Italian panettones are made with a special flavoring called " Fiori di Sicilia," which you can purchase at gourmet stores and online. Use in place of the lemon and orange extract.