This recipe was slightly adapted from one my very favourite baking books, Carol Field’s The Italian Baker. Because it is made in so many stages, I’d recommend reading through the whole recipe first, then dividing it up to suit your schedule. The sponge and the first and second dough stages are easily done in one day, then if you don’t want to cram the whole thing in to one very long day, you can rest the dough overnight and pick it up the next morning. I think this helps the flavour depth and texture of the dough, anyway, so prefer the delayed method.
My friend Jenia got me some pretty pandoro basso paper molds in Italy so I used them because they look so nice. Obviously, these don’t have the height of the traditional panettoni baked in tall, cylindrical molds, but they are light and fluffy inside, with that wonderfully shreddy crumb. Carol Field recommends using 10 x 15cm (4 x 6″) paper molds or coffee cans lined with baking paper, but any mold will work in a pinch. You can even make panettone muffins!
Makes 2 panettoni
1 x 7g sachet (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
80g (1/3 cup) warm water
70g (a scant 1/2 cup) all-purpose (plain) flour
Dissolve yeast in water, add flour and stir, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
1 x 7g sachet (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
45g (3 tbsp) warm water
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
180g (1 1/3 cups + a scant tbsp) all-purpose (plain) flour
50g (1/4 cup) granulated (white) sugar
115g (1 stick, 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water, add sponge, eggs, flour and sugar and mix with a paddle attachment or a wooden spoon. Add butter and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes in a stand mixer or 5 minutes by hand.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about one hour. If using a stand mixer, it’s a good idea to remove the paddle attachment and give it a good rinse so you don’t get dried out dough from it in the next mixing stage.
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
150g (3/4 cup) granulated (white) sugar
45g (2 tbsp) honey
2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
1 tsp salt
225g (2 sticks, 1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
420g (3 1/4 cups) all-purpose (plain) flour + a little extra for surface if kneading by hand
Lightly beat together eggs and eggs yolks then add along with sugar, honey, vanilla and salt to first dough and mix thoroughly, either with a paddle attachment or a wooden spoon.
Add butter and mix until smooth.
Add flour and mix until smooth.
Using either a dough hook or by hand, knead dough until smooth and soft. It will be quite sticky.
Scrape dough into a clean, lightly buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until tripled in size – anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, depending on ambient temperature. At this point, you can set the dough in a cool place to rest overnight, or in the fridge if your kitchen is warm. Just remember to get it out at least two hours in advance of the next stage.
250g (1 2/3 cups) golden raisins
150g (1 cup) dried cranberries
grated zest of 1 medium orange
grated zest of 1 medium lemon
2 tbsp all-purpose (plain) flour
Soak the raisins and cranberries in cool water (or alcohol, as you prefer) for 30 minutes, then drain and pat dry with paper towel.
Combine in a bowl with the orange and lemon zests, then dust with flour, tossing to coat . This will help distribution in the dough.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and cut in half. Gently pat each piece of dough out into an oval and sprinkle each with a quarter of the fruit mixture.
Roll both dough pieces into logs, then gently pat out again and sprinkle each with half of the remaining fruit mixture. Roll up into logs again.
Depending on the kind of molds you are using, you will either shape each dough piece into a ball and drop into a round mold, or gently stretch to fit a wider mold, or gently roll out into a longer log to fit a ring or bundt mold.
If using a round mold, cut an X into the top of the dough with a razor, serrated knife or kitchen shears, if using a ring mold, cut a few slashes. Cover with plastic wrap (lightly buttered, for a low mold) and let rise in a warm place until doubled, two to three hours.
Topping and baking
Preheat oven to 205°C (400°F) with a shelf positioned to allow for the height of your molds.
There are many options for topping panettoni, but I like to use a simple egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water) and sprinkle them generously with pearl sugar. Any topping should be done just before baking. Alternatively, just before you put the loaves in the oven, recut the X and insert a knob of butter into them.
Bake panettoni at 205°C (400°F) for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 190°C (375°F) and bake a further 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature again to 180°C (350°F) and bake for about 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Smaller panettoni (e.g. muffin sized) will not take as long, so check them after 15 minutes.
Transfer to wire racks to cool for 30 minutes. If using tall paper molds, lie panettoni on their sides on pillows or clean towels to cool, so they don’t collapse. If using coffee cans, remove after 30 minutes and lie panettoni on their sides on pillows or towels to cool. Other metal molds, remove carefully after 30 minutes. Other paper molds, they can be removed or stay in them for transport or serving, as desired.