I made it! I must admit that I have always been scared of making my own panettone but this year I decided to finally give it a go with an easy recipe. This can be a good one to start with if you are not an experienced baker but you still want the satisfaction of making your own.
I made Italian Easter colomba before which is similar in texture but not always with good results. One of the reasons is that I am often in Italy over Easter and in my mum's kitchen the temperature and the oven are different and I am always rushed for time there which certainly doesn't help. The nearest to panettone I made was this soft raisins cake.
I decided to start with an easy recipe first and to learn to make panettone in easy steps. To get that soft texture panettone must be left to rise several times and for 48 hours but the problem with that is that if you are not an experienced baker things can go wrong along the way. Many things can affect the end result: the temperature of your house and the type of yeast and flour used too. In this recipe I have only let it rise twice.
Always go for strong bread flour when making panettone and make sure that your let the dough rest in a warm draught-free place in your house. A good place is in the oven with the oven light left on. This will provide a constant ideal temperature for your panettone to rise.
I was not keen on buying a panettone paper case as they are quite expensive so I simply bought a cheap small loose bottom baking tin as a base and then I lined it with parchment paper. It worked perfectly. Some people use small pots too. I have used a 7.5 inch or 19 cm loose bottom round baking tin.
When it comes out of the oven panettone is traditionally pierced with wooden skewers and left to cool hung upside down. On this occasion I just left it on a wire rack instead. The final result was good enough and we all enjoyed our homemade panettone very much! You can add sultanas, chocolate chips or candy fruits depending on taste.
- Prep Time : 45 minutes
- Cook Time : 45 minutes
- Yield : 8
- strong bread flour sieved - 500 g - 4 + ½ cup + extra as needed
- eggs - 3
- egg yolk - 1
- lukewarm milk - 40 ml - 1.3 fl oz
- granulated sugar - 100 g - 1/2 cup
- fast-action dried yeast - 2 sachets (7 g each)
- butter - 150 g - ⅔ cup
- the zest of one lemon and one orange
- vanilla essence/ extract - 2 tsp
- sultanas or chocolate chips - 150 g - ¾ cup sultanas or 7/8 cup chocolate chips
- candy fruits (optional)
- For the topping:
- powdered sugar - 50 g + extra to sprinkle
- ground almonds - 50 g
- egg white - 1
- almond flakes - 2 tbsp
Put the flour, the yeast, eggs and the yolk, the sugar, the orange and lemon zest, the vanilla, the milk and the butter in a bowl and with a processor or with your hands make a smooth ball. Add a little extra flour if the consistency is too sticky. Work the dough for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. It should be smooth and elastic.
Let the dough rest in the bowl covered with cling film or with a cloth for at least a couple of hours or until it will have more than doubled in size. It needs to be in a warm place. You can simply place it in the oven with the light switched on.
In the meantime let's make the panettone mold.
I bought a cheap ordinary small round loose bottom cake tin then I cut a sheet of parchment paper long as the lenght of the tin circumference, I folded it in half, I stapled the ends together and placed it inside the tin. If it is too tall cut a bit off with the scissors. Make sure you grease the tin as well as the paper with butter before putting the dough in.
When the dough has risen work it energetically for another 5 minutes. Add the chocolate chips or the sultanas and/or candy fruits, form a smooth ball and place it in the mold.
Cover it with cling film and let it rest again for approximately 5 or 6 hours or until it has almost reached the top of the paper. How long you need to rest it depends how much it rises.
Make the topping by lightly whipping the egg white, add the ground almonds and the powdered sugar then mix well. Gently brush the top of your panettone with it and then sprinkle the top with the almonds (which you will have wet with a little water to avoid them burning during cooking). Sprinkle your panettone with powdered sugar.
Bake it in a ventilated oven at 180C or 350F in the lowest rack of the oven for approximately 45 minutes. After 30 minutes cover it with tinfoil if it looks too brown. Before removing it from the oven test it by inserting a wooden skewer in the middle of the cake: if it comes out clean then your panettone is ready.
Let it cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turn it out on a wire rack to cool down completely.
Sprinkle it with powdered sugar, slice and serve.
Your panettone will last well for about 3 days wrapped in a food bag.