Thursday, December 27, 2012

Daring Bakers' December Challenge - Panettone


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!

The challenge this month was a joy to do. I had never tasted Panettone before. I have seen it in the windows of Italian bakeries at the holiday time of year but never had the courage to try it. I am not a fan of candied fruit and there are so many other tempting treats to divert my attention.
When this challenge appeared, I resolved to make my own candied fruit. I knew it would be an extra step in what appeared to be already many, many steps, but I wanted to really get into this challenge.

I made the candied fruit from kumquats, navel oranges and Meyer lemons. I sliced the peel from the Meyer lemons and the oranges. I sliced and seeded the kumquats. Then I blanched the fruits three times to help remove any bitterness. I made a sugar syrup with equal amounts of sugar and water, simmering it about 10 minutes before adding the fruit.  I continued to simmer  for about 20 minutes. I drained the fruit through a strainer and spread the fruit on a rack, leaving it to set for about two days. Whew! I know, it was a labor of love for sure. But I grew to love candied kumquats and must admit to a bit of snacking during this slow progression.

The peel

Blanch three times
Cook in sugar syrup

I used the homemade candied fruits along with sultanas for the fruit. One bit of advice: Use a sharp knife to chop the candied fruits...the food processor is not up to the job.

Not working :(

Working :)

click on  RECIPE   for the Panettone.   Marcellina  has given a really wonderful recipe that turns out a beautiful bread. One slight variation I made was an Espresso glaze for the topping. I added it after the Panettone had cooked and cooled.  It gave the Panettone a nice richness.

Otherwise I followed  Marcellina's recipe to the letter. She did a great job of testing for us and you can rely on her instructions.

Friendly dough

Since it has turned downright cold here in New England, I allowed the dough to rise a little longer, and used my heating vent for some added boosting. I would like to give a shout out to my sweetest Lab, Pebbles, for not helping herself to the dough that was well within her grasp.

I am a good girl here in chilly Boston.
I found some really nice PANETTONE PAPERS. They were so perfect because I could bake and serve in the same container. I am not sure I will be making Panettone a lot and did not want to buy a pan so these disposable containers were the logical answer.

The final test was my dear friend, Karen, who knows Panettone and gave it a big thumbs up. Hooray!

Happy Holidays to all of you!