Christmas Tea Panettone
Nothing says Christmas than panettone (especially if you're from certain parts of the world)! Somewhere between cake and bread, this wonderfully aromatic and light treat can be enjoyed any time of the day (including midnight). Once stale, it makes for some amazing french toast. This is an alcohol-free version as often times panettone includes some rum, bourbon or marsala wine. The Christmas tea with its warm spices works particularly well here.27 h 1
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp flour, 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp water, pinch of dry active yeast (1/8 tsp) - starter
- 1/4 cup water, 2 1/2 tsp of dry active yeast, 1/3 cup + 2tbsp sugar, 2 and 1/2 cup flour, 2 eggs, zest of two oranges and one lemon, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp salt, 5 tbsp butter - dough
- 2 cups of dried fruit, 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp of Christmas tea brewed according to instructions
This recipe takes a bit of time overall, but the actual active time is rather short.
Assemble the ingredients for the starter and let sit at room temperature overnight (8-10 hours). - This will allow the panettone to stay fresher for longer and the long fermentation will provide good flavor. If you have sourdough starter use 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup of your starter.
Next morning activate the yeast in warm water (aim for the temperature of the water to be 10 deg above your flour temperature) and let sit for ~ 10 minutes until you start seeing bubbles and foaming. You want to make sure your yeast is working! Add the sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, the zest of the oranges and lemons and whisk well. Once whisked, add your flour and get ready to start kneading. If you have a standing mixer, you're in luck. Just chuck everything in there and using your dough hook attachment let knead until the dough is smooth and elastic (I think it should take about 8-10 minutes). This gal had to do it all by hand and lived to tell the tale. It takes about 30 minutes but it will eventually turn into a beautiful dough albeit slightly sticky. Add in one tablespoon of *softened* butter at a time and keep kneading until well incorporated. Cover in an oiled bowl and let rise for 3-4 hours. One tip; if you live somewhere cold, you can preheat your oven to ~ 100 deg or until it feels like summer in there and let your dough rise in the oven. This will speed the rise. Be careful though, as too much heat can kill the yeast. Once your dough has doubled in volume, punch it down (which feels just great by the way), cover again and store overnight in your fridge. In the meantime, chop the dried fruit of your choice (I used a combination of raisins, dried apricots and dried mango - citrusy things will work particularly well here) into small pieces and pour the brewed tea on top. Stir, cover and let sit overnight on your counter. Next morning take the dough out of the fridge, let it warm up for a few minutes and roll into a rectangle (maybe 9x13 in, but it doesn't have to be precise), scatter your fruit on top evenly (by now it will have absorbed all of the wonderful liquid) and roll it into a log. Depending on the shape of the pan you plan to bake in, roll up the log to fit in it nicely. I baked it in a rectangular loaf pan (9x5 in), and rolled the log onto itself while smoothing it in order to achieve a somewhat rectangular shape. Note that there is a traditional panettone baking mold, but I didn't think it would add anything to my bake so I didn't purchase it. Let rise in the loaf pan for another 3 or so hours until doubled in size. Brush with an egg wash (which is egg beaten with some water) and with a sharp knife make some cuts along the top (this is called scoring and it helps the bread rise evenly). Place your beautiful creation in the center of a 350 deg oven for about 40 minutes or until it is a beautiful dark golden brown. Once out of the oven, let cool for a few hours and then enjoy and share with friends and family!