Every country has its own traditions when it comes to this time of year, and in Italy, it’s panettone. The light, airy, bread-like cake is the Italian version of Christmas pudding and is laden with fruit, nuts, and chocolate. It is a bit of a project to undertake, but once you’ve made your first panettone, you’ll struggle to wait 365 days before making another!
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- ½ cup bread flour
- 2 ¼ cups bread flour
- 2/3 cup water
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 8 large egg yolks
- 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- 1 cup roasted and skinned hazelnuts, chopped
- 1 cup dark chocolate chunks
- 1 cup candied orange rind, chopped
- 2 6-inch paper panettone molds
- 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash
- Pearl sugar, for sprinkling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the warm water with the yeast until dissolved. Add ½ cup of bread flour and mix with your hands or a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Cover the bowl with plastic and let it rest at room temperature for around 4 hours, until it doubles in size.
- Attach the paddle to the stand mixer. Add in the risen dough, as well as 2 ¼ cups of bread flour, 2/3 cup of water, ½ cup of sugar, and 8 egg yolks. Beat on low speed for about 2 minutes until just combined. Mix on medium-high speed until the dough balls up around the paddle and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Switch to the dough hook gradually add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time with the mixer on low speed. Once fully incorporated, the dough should be smooth and shiny. Cover the bowl with plastic and let it rest at room temperature for 12 hours or overnight.
- Add the remaining bread flour and sugar to the dough in the bowl of the stand mixer. Attach the dough hook and beat on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. With the mixer on low, gradually add the 2 egg yolks and the vanilla paste until the dough is smooth and elastic again. Add in the salt and beat for 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, gradually add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated and the dough is shiny and supple. Beat in the hazelnuts, orange rind, and chocolate until evenly distributed. Cover the bowl with plastic and let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Place the panettone molds on a large baking sheet. Scrape the dough out onto a floured work surface and cut it in half. Using a bench scraper and floured hands, gently shape the dough into two rounds, carefully folding the dough under itself.
- Carefully transfer the rounds, seam side down, to the panettone molds. Cover the molds with plastic and let them rise in a warm place for about 4 to 6 hours, until the rounds are 1-2 inches from the top of the mold.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and position the rack in the center. Lightly brush the tops of the panettone with the egg wash, then sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake for about 1 hour, until risen and the top is well-browned. Let the panettone cool completely, for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove the panettone from the molds, cut into wedges, and serve.