There simply cannot be Christmas without a loaf of freshly baked panettone!
(Thank you to Nestle Toll House for sponsoring this post and making Christmas a little bit sweeter!)
So this year I decided to bake my own panettone. I had never made it before, or seen anyone making it, since my family always buys it from the store. All I can say is that it was definitely a challenge.
I spent all this last week testing recipes. It was a total of 5 panettones, lots of sweat, tears and loooots of early mornings (you should see my dark circles right now!) until I achieved the “perfect” one.
Either I wasn’t satisfied with the amount of fruit/nuts/chocolate in it, or I went too heavy with the rum, or the panettone tasted great but didn’t look pretty enough for pictures. Because you gotta be fabulous looking to make it to Olivia’s Cuisine! ?
And, as usual, a huge thanks to my lovely coworkers for being my guinea pigs and eating all my failed experiments.
To be completely honest with you, making panettone is not easy. I mean, the recipe is not incredibly hard and most people will be able to follow it without any major problems, but it is a long process. So you definitely have to plan for it!
Some recipes take up to 3 days of work, which is time that I do not have. So I settled for a recipe that is slightly adapted from Laura Vitale’s version that takes only one day, and I am pretty happy with it. This panettone is possibly one of the best panettones I have ever tasted. It is light and buttery, with just the right amount of sweetness.
My main challenge with making panettone was the fact that almost all the loaves I made deflated when I took them out of the oven.
For the starter:
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 (1/4 ounce) packet of active dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (or zest of one large orange)
- 3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting counter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons of butter, plus more to brush loaf
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 teaspoon rum (optional)
- 1 cup Nestle Toll House Premier White Morsels
- 2/3 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
- One large panettone mold
- 2 or 3 wooden skewers
Making the starter:
- Start by mixing the water and the milk in a small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds and wait for the temperature to be approximately 110 degrees. Then, sprinkle the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes or until the yeast is activated.
- Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and 4 tablespoons of flour to the yeast mixture, whisking to combine. Cover with plastic and let it sit in a warm place for 30 minutes to one hour, or until doubled in size.
Making the panettone:
- In a small bowl, mix the cranberries and the rum. Reserve.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs, the sugar, the vanilla extract and the orange zest. Add the yeast starter and continue whisking to combine.
- Using the dough hook, turn the mixer on low and slowly add the flour and the salt. Once everything is incorporated, turn the speed up to medium high and let the mixer knead the dough for 5 minutes. Then, add the butter and knead for another 5 minutes.
- Add the cranberries, morsels and chopped pistachios and mix just until incorporated.
- Transfer to a well floured surface and knead the dough by hand until silky and not too sticky. Place it in a oiled large bowl and brush some vegetable oil over the top to prevent a crust from forming. Then, cover with plastic wrap and with a kitchen towel and let it sit in a warm place for 4 hours, or until it's tripled in size.
- Brush a panettone mold (or an 8 inch deep cake pan) with melted butter and reserve.
- When the dough has risen, transfer it to your floured counter and punch it, kneading it just till it's silky again. Form it into a ball and transfer to the buttered panettone mold. Brush the top with melted butter,, cover with plastic and a kitchen towel and bring it to a warm place again, so it can rise for another 2 to 3 hours, or until tripled in size once more.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Brush the panettone with some more melted butter and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 190 degrees, tenting with aluminum foil if the crust appears to be browning too quickly.. (If you don't have a thermometer, just take it out of the oven when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.)
- Remove mold from oven, and run a wooden skewer horizontally through the bottom of the panettone loaf. Hang the panettone upside down by propping ends of each skewer on a large, deep pot. Let cool completely.
- Store at room temperature, well-wrapped, for up to a week; freeze for longer storage.