Monday, 13 December 2010
One of the things I love about food blogging is that you actually end up learning a lot about food along the way. I particularly love learning about festive food from around the world, its history, the way foods evolve along with soceity, and so on. Fascinating stuff (well.. for me anyway!). I had one of these warm and fuzzy moments when reading an article about panettone recently. It was so lovely to read about its origins and how significant it is to Italians at this time of year. Food really does bring people together, which I think is one of the nicest things about Christmas. So, even though I am not Italian, I decided I wanted in on this panettone business!
So what is panettone? Panettone is a traditional Italian bread with a domed top enjoyed around Christmas. It is a lovely buttery and lightly sweetened bread dotted with dried fruit such as raisins and candied citron. It is said to have originated in Milan, and is commonly enjoyed warm or lightly toasted along with (and even dunked into) espresso at breakfast.
Although it takes a little time to wait for the dough to rise (I definitely do not recommend attempting to make this on a weekday after work), here is a recipe to make your own baby size panettone. I'm a sucker for anything miniature, aren't you?! To make this recipe, you'll need 8 empty, clean, regular-size cans. I only had 4, so I actually halved the recipe below.
Adapted recipe from 200 Christmas Recipes by Hamlyn
2 tsp easy-blend dried yeast
125g caster sugar, plus 1 tsp
175ml hand-hot milk
700g strong bread flour (available in the baking aisle of most supermarkets)
4 large eggs, plus 2 yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 2 lemons
175 salted butter, very soft and diced
185g mixed dried fruit
1. Grease 8 x 400ml clean food cans and line with greaseproof paper that extends above the rims. Grease the paper.
2. Stir the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar into the milk in a large, warm bowl and leave for 10 minutes or until frothy. Stir in 100g of the flour. Cover with clingfilm and leave for 30 minutes.
3. Add the eggs and egg yolks, the remaining flour and the sugar, vanilla, zest and butter. Mix with a round-bladed knife to make a soft dough, adding a little more flour if the dough feels sticky. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Leave to rise in a lightly greased bowl, covered with clingfilm, for 2-4 hours or until doubled in size.
4. Knock back the dough and lightly knead in the dried fruit. Cut the dough into 8 pieces and drop into the tins. Cover and leave to rise until the dough reaches the can rims.
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius (Gas Mark 6) for 20-25 minutes or until risen and golden. Remove from oven and leave in cans for 5 minutes before shaking out the panettone to cool on a wire rack.
To make a whole panettone instead of 8 baby ones, shape the mixture into 1 large ball. Place in a 15cm round cake tin, greased and lined with a double layer of greased greaseproof paper that extends 10cm above the rim. Cover and leave to rise. Bake for 15 minutes at 200 degrees celcius, then reduce to 180 degrees celcius and bake for 40 minutes until well risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave in tin for 10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy at home, or wrap well with clingfilm, add some festive decorations and give away to family/friends!