|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 10 to 14|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 21g||26%|
|Saturated Fat 11g||56%|
|Total Carbohydrate 58g||21%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||11%|
|Total Sugars 25g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||4%|
|*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.|
From the Italian panetto or small cake, panettone is a large fruity enriched sweet bread, offered typically during Christmas throughout Italy and in Italian communities around the world. Originated in Milan, it is a large, dome-shaped cake that has been leavened with yeast. It has a slightly light and airy texture but a rich and buttery taste, and is not very sweet. The jury is still out on whether panettone is a cake or a bread because it's both as chewy as a loaf of bread and as fruity and sweet as a fruit cake. Pandoro, another Italian Christmas bread, is often confused with panettone but is a star-shaped golden cake, without any dried fruit, from the city of Verona.
Filled with dried fruits and candied peels, spongy panettone needs care and attention, but making it is not as difficult as it might seem, as our straightforward recipe shows. Sliced or pulled by hand, alone or with butter, cream, or fruit preserves, don't miss out on this wonderful dessert, great for brunches, coffee, and tea times.
Click Play to See This Buttery Classic Christmas Italian Panettone Come Together
For the Fruit:
10 ounces mixed dried fruits (currants, raisins, cranberries, dried cherries)
4 ounces candied lemon and orange peel, finely chopped
2 ounces glace or candied cherries, quartered
6 tablespoons Cointreau or your favorite liqueur or fruit juice
For the Dough:
Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this panettone is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.
Prepare the Fruit
Gather the ingredients.
Put all the dried and candied fruits into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the Cointreau, mix again.
Cover, and store in a cool dark place overnight. Do not refrigerate.
Prepare the Dough
Gather the ingredients.
Warm up 5 ounces of the milk to lukewarm temperature. Reserve the remaining ounce of milk in the fridge. In a heatproof jug or bowl, sprinkle the dry yeast over the warmed milk, stir in the sugar, and leave to one side for 5 minutes.
Tip the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Sprinkle the salt into one side of the bowl. Pour in the frothy yeast mixture onto the other side—salt should never come into direct contact with dry or fresh yeast as it will kill the yeast, making the bread dense and hard.
Mix the flour, salt, and yeast at slow speed to combine the ingredients. Add 5 of the eggs, turn the mixer to medium speed and continue mixing until the dough smooths out, although it will become sticky.
Cut 9 ounces of the softened butter into bite-sized chunks. Raise the speed of the mixer and add the butter a few pieces at a time.
Let the mixer continue to run for at least 5 more minutes. The dough will turn glossy and even smoother and so soft and airy that it will be impossible to handle. This is the texture that you're looking for.
Grease a large baking bowl or dish with 1/2 ounce of the remaining butter. To retain the maximum amount of air, let the dough slide down into the greased bowl by its own weight. Do not force it out.
Scrape down any leftover dough with a soft spatula. Cover the greased bowl with a lid or tightly with plastic wrap and put it into a very cool place, preferably the fridge, and leave to proof overnight—the cold, long, slow rise will deliver the lightest of cakes. Slow is always better, and the result is a light and airy cake with a soft crumb.
Make the Panettone
Place dough on a floured work surface and spread out into a rectangular shape.
Strain the soaked fruits through a fine sieve, discard the juice. Place half of the fruits onto the spread-out dough.
Fold the dough over the fruits and lightly roll the dough around to evenly distribute the fruit. Spread the dough again and repeat as before with the remaining fruit. The dough will be lumpy and knobbly, but look out for clusters of fruit and give them another roll around to redistribute it, if needed.
Form the dough into a roughly shaped ball.
Grease a 7-inch panettone tin or panettone paper case with the remaining 1/2 ounce of butter. If you have neither of these, use a regular cake tin, but line the base and sides with greaseproof paper standing at least 2 inches above the rim.
Drop the dough into the center of the tin, tuck the almonds into the surface of the cake, and cover loosely with a tea cloth.
Proof the cake in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours until the dough is well risen and rising above the tin. If 3 hours isn't enough, give it enough time: The key here is to have the rise above the rim of the tin or case.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Mix the remaining egg with the remaining ounce of milk and brush over the surface of the cake. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 300 F and cook for a further 45 to 55 minutes. The panettone is ready when a skewer comes out clean from the middle part of the cake.
Let the cake cool for 5 minutes in the tin on a cooling rack, then remove and leave it to cool completely.
What Is an Enriched Dough?
An enriched dough is one that has more ingredients than the basic yeast, flour, salt, and water. Eggs, sugar, milk, and/or butter are added to the dough. The addition of these enrichments makes the dough very heavy but also helps the final texture be really airy and fluffy, like our panettone, challah, or stollen. Enriched doughs need enough time to proof, once after mixing and once after shaping.
Additional Flavors and Substitutions
- Soaking the fruit in Cointreau or any liqueur of your liking enhances the flavor of the cake. But even without it, the panettone will be delicious. If alcohol is not your thing, or the cake is for children, then substitute orange or apple juice for the Cointreau.
- Our recipe is for the classic combination of fruits and thereby flavor. You can choose the fruits in any proportion you prefer, or avoid one or more altogether.
- Switch out the almonds on the top of the cake for walnuts or cashews. Or leave out the nuts altogether and sprinkle with pearl sugar.
- Although not a part of the classic recipe, adding chocolate chips complements really well the fruity flavor of the cake. If chocolate is your thing, add 3/4 cup of semisweet chocolate chips at the same time you incorporate the dried fruit.
How to Store Panettone
- The cake is delicious eaten fresh and keeps well in an airtight tin for a week at room temperature. It also freezes well for up to two months. Thaw slowly in the refrigerator overnight and slightly warm up in the oven, avoiding crisping up the bread.