This year since I was spending the holidays in Florida, I decided to flavor my Christmas Panettone with citrus, specifically lemons and oranges. It turned out delicious, and will be one recipe I’ll make often over the years. I find that really good Panettone requires an initial sponge, which adds to your preparation time but is well worth it in the long run. You can use special Panettone paper forms as I use, or an appropriately high sided casserole or soufflé pans.
Deborah Mele 2011
For The Sponge:
- 1 Package Active Dry Yeast
- 1/4 Cup Warm water
- 1/2 Cup Unbleached All-purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Golden Raisins
- Juice Of 1 Large Orange
- 5 Tablespoons Soft Butter
- 3 Large Eggs
- 4 Large Egg Yolks
- 3/4 Cup Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Fiori di Sicilia (Sicilian Lemon Extract), Or 1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract And 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 5+ Cups All-purpose Flour
- Finely Chopped Zest Of 1 Orange
- Finely Chopped Zest Of 1 Lemon
- 1/2 Cup Candied Citron
- In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water, and stir to mix.
- Add the flour and mix until you have a loose dough.
- Cover, and let this sponge rise for at least 4 hours, but no more than 8.
- While you are waiting on your sponge, place the orange juice and raisins in a small pot.
- Bring the juice to a boil, then remove from the heat, cover the pot and let the raisins plump in the warm juice.
- After your sponge has risen, place 5 cups of the flour onto a bread board or counter and make a crater in the center.
- In a bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, eggs, egg yolks, extracts, sponge, grated zests and 1/4 cup of warm water.
- Strain the raisins, and add the juice to the egg mixture.
- Begin to slowly pour the liquid mixture into the center of the flour, and using a fork begin to mix the flour into the liquid from the sides.
- Continue until you have added all of the liquid.
- Add the raisins and citron and begin to knead with your hands for about 8 minutes or until you have a smooth, elastic dough, using a little additional flour if your mixture is a little wet.
- Butter a large bowl, and place the Panettone dough into the bowl.
- Cover, and let sit to rise in a warm place for about 6 hours.
- Butter your chosen mold and then punch down the dough.
- Knead once again for a few minutes and then shape into a ball.
- Place in your prepared pan, cover and let rise again for 45 minutes.
- While it is rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut an X or slash into the top of the Panettone, and bake it until it is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- If you notice that the Panettone is browning too much while baking, place a sheet of foil over the top.
- Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Once completely cooled, store in an airtight bag until you are ready to enjoy it. (I find the Panettone kept well for up to a week. If you notice that it is becoming a little stale, toast slices and add a little butter for a great breakfast treat. Delicious)