“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.”
Robert Browning

PanettoneTraditional Panettone … the December Daring Bakers challenge sounded like music to my ears, only that I wasn’t sure at all that I would get to doing the challenge. The year end has been quite a roller coaster ride, at times frustrating and saddening. The events around the world make the heart heavy, yet the very thought of food means comfort.

Panettone 2Back from an early Christmas cum birthday party a few days ago, I bit into a sweet rum fruit cake that was part of the goodie bag. That old comforting feeling flooded my senses. Sure enough, I was soaking fruit the next morning. A quick Christmas fruit cake was sure to lift the spirits a bit…

Christmas Garam Masala Fruit CakeWith the fruit soaking, the challenge played on the mind since I knew the panettone also used fruit, not soaked though. Pannetone is a sweet yeasted Italian bread served at Christmas. It is characteristically tall. Mine wasn’t. I misjudged the tins a little {read quite a lot}.

The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread!

PanettoneI really pushed myself to begin the challenge. One look at the recipe and you will understand. It looked long and daunting. I began early in the morning. Thankfully the Thermomix did all the kneading in minutes. It was the ‘rises’ that took all day, and my panettones finally got ready late in the evening.

So how was the Panettone born? A beautiful bread with a romantic tale. Traditionally it is eaten by the Milanese but now it is available all through Italy and in many parts of the world. There are many stories and legends of the Panettone. The one recounted by Carol Field, whose recipe we use today, is that of a rich young Milanese noble who fell in love with the daughter of a poor baker whose name was Tony (Antonio). Panettone The nobleman wanted to marry the baker’s daughter so he ensured the baker had at his disposal the very best ingredients – eggs, butter, flour, candied orange peel, citron and sultanas. The baker created a wonderful bread which became known as pan di Tonio (Tony’s bread). The baker found his fame and fortune and the nobleman honorably married the baker’s daughter.

Panettone 3Well thanks to Tony and Marcellina, {and the author of the recipe, Carol Field, of course}, we have this delicious traditional Christmas favourite delighting our palettes today. Rich, buttery, brioche like, studded with raisins, candied peel, nuts {and dark  chocolate chips in the mini ones}, the Panettone is comforting and addictive.

PanettoneOf course I had no time to make a traditional panettone case, and sadly they are quite impossible to find in India. Mine were baked in parchment cases in 3 tiny cake tins. I made half a dozen in cupcake cases too.

PanettoneSo glad I made them. They were fabulous! I was unsure if the kids would eat them, given their love-hate relationship with fruit and nuts … but NOM NOM NOM were the words out of the daughters mouth. The first cupcakes vanished soon, followed by one small cake.

Panettone One bite of the Panettone took me back to the Dresden Stollen; a bread that had ‘stolen‘ my heart a few years ago. The Stollen is an amazing Christmas bread, one that can be made months in advance, and one that keeps really well. A traditional German holiday bread, the Dresden Stollen has yeast and quark as two of the key ingredients.

We also did a Stollen Bread Pudding with the Daring Bakers in December 2010; yet another amazing Christmas dessert. This year was getting very busy and my time management was rock bottom {so what’s new?}. The quintessential fruit cake was yet to be baked and it was already the 22rd!

Christmas CakeChristmas at home is never complete without Fruit Cake. I made a twist to my regular fruit cake this year with a Christmas Garam Masala Fruit Cake. YUM! That was what I originally cut and soaked fruit for. Then figured I could manage the Panettone too.

Panettone Lofty ambitions as Mr PAB decided to hit ER running a temperature of 105C on the coldest day of this year. We shivered with cold while he raged with high fever that took us to hospital. Nothing a drip and a few shots couldn’t fix … and I raced home to my beloved Panettone. Talk about dedication to baking!

PanettoneDon’t get daunted by the length of the recipe or the many ‘risings’ … or the amount of butter for that matter! This is good stuff, well worth the effort, and all the ‘risings’.

PanettoneI didn’t get as far as the baked traditional glaze the recipe offered. The Panettone looked good without it too, until the boy saw a picture I was looking at and asked why mine had no glaze. Talk about added pressure. PanettoneLow fat cream + raw powdered sugar + almond extract = good quick glaze. Good enough for some craisins and slivered pistachios to hang on to. Yummy as well!

Panettone I dressed the Panettone up in a collar of parchment paper with holes punched through, threading golden ribbon through. The little ones were baked in green Christmas cupcake liners that I placed in deep individual muffin tins like the ones you see in this Plum Fro Yo. The dough baked upwards quite nicely. I loved the way they came out.

Do stop by here and check out some the beautiful Panettone that the Daring Bakers have baked. Thank you Marcella for sharing the beautiful story and recipe with us. Thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of  Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!!

[print_this]Recipe:  Traditional Panettone  your picture

Summary: A delicious sweet Italian bread like cake studded with fruit, nuts and candied peel. The Panettone originates from Milan, and is traditionally made around Christmas. Panettone recipe slightly adapted from The Italian Baker by Carol Field. Makes 2 Panettone {I made half recipe} Candied Orange Peel from Use Real Butter

Prep Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours {plus resting and cooling time}

  • Sponge
  • 1 satchel (2¼ teaspoons) (7 gm) active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) warm water
  • ½ cup (70 gm) unbleached all purpose flour
  • First Dough
  • 1 satchel (2¼ teaspoons) (7 gm) active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) warm water
  • 2 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1¼ cup (175 gm) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour
  • ¼ cup (55 gm) (2 oz) sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) (115 gm) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • Second dough
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup (150 gm) (5-2/3 oz) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) honey
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract {I used 1 vanilla bean in half recipe}
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon essence/extract
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) orange essence/extract
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) (225 gm) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 3 cups (420 gm) (15 oz) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour; plus up to (2/3 cup) 100 gm for kneading
  • Filling and final dough
  • 1½ cups (250 gm) (9 oz) golden raisins or golden sultanas
  • ½ cup (75 gm) (2-2/3 oz) candied citron {I didn’t have this so I made it up with candied orange peel}
  • ½ cup (75 gm) (2-2/3 oz) candied orange peel 
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons (30-45 ml) (15-25 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour
  • Note: I used about 3 cups of fruit & nut filling from my Christmas Garam Masala Fruit Cake
  • Candied Orange peel recipe 


  1. Sponge
  2. Mix the yeast and water in a small bowl and allow to stand until creamy. That’s about 10 minutes or so.
  3. Mix in the flour.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size for about 20 to 30 minutes
  5. TM: I just placed everything in the Thermomix Speed 5, 10 seconds.
  6. First Dough By Mixer
  7. In the mixer bowl, mix together the yeast and water and allow to stand until creamy. Again, about 10 minutes or so.
  8. With the paddle attached mix in the sponge, eggs, flour, and sugar.
  9. Add in the butter and mix for 3 minutes until the dough is smooth and even.
  10. Cover with plastic wrap and allow double in size, about 1 – 1 ¼ hours
  11. Second Dough By Mixer
  12. With the paddle mix in thoroughly the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, honey, scraped vanilla bean, essences/extracts, and salt.
  13. Mix in the butter until smooth.
  14. Add the flour and slowly incorporate.
  15. At this stage the dough will seem a little too soft, like cookie dough.
  16. Replace the paddle with the dough hook and knead for about 2 minutes.
  17. Turn out the dough and knead it on a well-floured surface until it sort of holds its shape.
  18. Don’t knead in too much flour but you may need as much as 2/3 cup. Be careful the excess flour will affect the finished product. {I didn’t add any extra flour}
  19. First Rise
  20. Oil a large bowl lightly, plop in your dough and cover
  21. Oil a large bowl lightly, plop in your dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for 2-4 hours until it has tripled in size. 
  22. Filling and Final Rise
  23. Soak the raisin/sultanas in water 30 minutes before the end of the first rise. {I used about 3 cups of fruit & nut filling from my Christmas Garam Masala Fruit Cake}
  24. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. 
  25. Now take your dough and cut it in half. Remember we are making two panettoni.
  26. Combine all your filling ingredients and mix well.
  27. Press out one portion of dough into an oval shape.
  28. Sprinkle over one quarter of the filling and roll up the dough into a log
  29. Press out again into an oval shape and sprinkle over another quarter of the filling.
  30. Roll into a log shape again.
  31. Repeat with the second portion of dough.
  32. Shape each into a ball and slip into your prepared pans, panettone papers or homemade panettone papers.
  33. Cut an X into the top of each panettone and allow to double in size. If it has been rising on the kitchen bench in a warm place it should be doubled in about 2 hours.
  34. Baking
  35. When you think your dough has only about 30 minutes left to rise preheat your oven to moderately hot 200°C
  36. Just before baking carefully {don’t deflate it!} cut the X into the dough again and place in a knob {a nut} of butter.
  37. Place your panettoni in the oven and bake for 10 minutes
  38. Reduce the heat to moderate 180°C and bake for another 10 minutes
  39. Reduce the heat again to moderate 160°C and bake for 30 minutes until the tops are well browned and a skewer inserted into the panettone comes out clean.
  40. Cool completely.


Before I go, I am happy to announce the winner for the giveaway of the beautiful retro scale and worktop saver from Zansaar. Put your hands together for Kajal @ For the Love of Food. Congratulations Kajal … will mail you soon! BTW, your blog is beautiful!

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