- 3 lb all-purpose flour
- 1 lb butter
- ¾ lb granulated sugar
- milk to taste
- 7 oz sultanas
- ½ lb sourdough starter
- 1 ¾ oz candied orange
- 10 egg yolks
- 3 eggs
Leave the sourdough starter to rise well, wrapped in a napkin dusted with flour, until doubled in volume, in a warm dry place. The rising is a critical operation to make a good panettone.
Two hours or so should be enough.
Put about 1 1/4 cups of flour onto a pastry board, crumble the sourdough starter in, dissolving it with a bit of warm water, gently fold in the flour, to make a soft and smooth dough. Once made a pat of dough, place it into bowl, dusted with flour and cover with a napkin; leave to rest for 3 hours.
After said time, put onto the pastry board 2 cups of flour and place the risen dough in the centre. Add a few tablespoon of milk to the risen dough to soften it, then incorporate the flour, to obtain a smooth dough. Knead vigorously and make a ball of dough to be left to rise, as you did before, into the bowl covered with a napkin, for 2 hours.
Dice the candied citron and orange, soak the sultanas in warm water for fifteen minutes and dry well. Melt 1 1/4 cups of butter, without frying. In another pan, dissolve the sugar in warm water to make a syrup, then add the whole eggs and egg yolks, cook in a bain-marie to heat up the mixture.
Pour 2,2 lbs of flour onto the pastry board, add a pinch of salt and mix it to the flour. Make a well in the centre. Place the ball of risen dough in the well, add the melted butter and mix. Now add the sugar syrup, previously blended with the eggs, and incorporate slowly, bit by bit, all the remaining flour. Knead vigorously for at least 20 minutes, amalgamating all the ingredients to make a firm smooth and elastic dough. In the end add the sultanas and candied fruit. According to the size of the oven, you can divide the dough in two or three parts.
Grease your hands with butter and give a round shape to the dough; then place onto a paper sheet, buttered and floured where you will leave them to rise for six hours or so, in a warm dry place, without drafts. The rising is complete when the dough has doubled in volume.
Make an cross incision on the surface. Place the cakes in cool place for a few minutes, then into the oven at 400-425° F.
After five minutes in the oven, pour the melted butter into the cross incision on the top, and while baking, carefully turn the heat down reducing the temperature to prevent from burning.
Without a doubt, panettone is the most well known Italian Christmas treat. Originally from the city of Milan, panettone was once made at home under the supervision of the head of the household who would make a cross on top of each cake using a knife as a sign of good fortune for the year to come.
This delicious sweet probably derives from the large loaf of bread, or pane, which was consumed during a ritual known as the ceremony of the tree stump – cerimonia del ceppo. At the beginning of this sort of ceremony, the head of the family would make the sign of the cross and then place the large stump of an oak tree in the fireplace, along with a bunch of juniper branches. Once the fire was lit, the head of the family would fill a glass of wine and toss a couple of drops on the fire before taking a sip and passing the glass along to the other family members. Once the wine was gone, a coin was tossed in the fire and one was given to everyone in the family. At this point, the loaves panettone – usually three of them – were brought to the table. A slice of was cut to use as a blessing on Saint Biagio’s day in February and then kept as a good luck charm until next Christmas.
As you can see, panettone has always been closely linked to tradition. In fact, there are a number of legends regarding the creation of the sweet.
One of the most famous comes from the 15th century, from the court of Ludovico Sforza in Milan. Supposedly the duke held a fabulous banquet at this home, arranged by his cook. During the party, Toni, a 12-year-old kitchen helper was placed in charge of watching the oven. Apparently, the young boy fell asleep, causing the dessert to burn. The boy woke up to a cloud of smoke, immediately realizing what trouble he was going to be in. Out of desperation, he decided to quickly prepare a new dessert, grabbing the rest of the bread and anything else he could find: butter, candied fruit and raisins. When the cook returned to the kitchen and discovered what Toni had done, he had no other choice but to serve the sweet bread on a gold dish. The dinner guests looked at the dessert with suspicion, but once they tasted it, they ate it quite happily.
From that Christmas on, the Duke served the sweet bread at his holiday party.
Tense, panettone comes from compounding the words pane or bread with Toni, the name of the legendary young boy.
Other suggested recipes
This dish is part of our special Christmas menu