Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cherry Cinnamon Chip Panettone

I am officially obsessed with making bread.  All I can think to say about Panettone is how utterly beautiful the dough is, how good it feels to mix in its many gobs of butter by hand with an old wooden spoon and how excruciating the day of waiting is before you find out whether it will rise in the oven as you hope.  Panettone is a beautiful bread and despite the investment of time, is fairly easy to make at home!

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!

Panettone is traditionally made with raisins and candied citrus peel.  I kept mine in the same vein but instead used dried cherries soaked in black rum, tangerine zest and cinnamon chips.  The flavor is intense and undeniably Christmas-y.  The bread is said to dry out in a day or two, so we were sure to eat up our small loaf when still warm, buttery, tender and moist.  It's intoxicating!  I can't wait to make this bread again.  I may have another holiday baking tradition on my plate!

Cherry Cinnamon Chip Panettone
Panettone recipe adapted from The Italian Baker by Carol Field.  Almond Glaze recipe adapted from La Cucina Italiana.  Makes 1 small loaf.

Prepare the pan:  You can buy special panettone papers or you can make your own panettone pan.  Using a 6 inch round pan, create a collar of foil, folded to size, 4 1/2 inches high.  Butter the bottom of the pan and the inside of the foil and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper (the butter helps it all stick together).  The bottom round of parchment paper should be slightly larger than the round bottom of the pan so it can come up the foil sides slightly, then line the inside ring of foil with a long rectangle of parchment paper.

Create the Sponge:

1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour

Mix the yeast and water in a small bowl and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Mix in the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size, about 20 to 30 minutes

Prepare the first dough:

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons warm water
1 large egg, at room temperature
2/3 cup flour
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces

Mix the yeast and water in a large bowl and allow to stand about 10 minutes. Add the Sponge and beat well with a wooden spoon. Stir in the egg, flour and sugar. Mix in the butter by first smashing the softened butter into the sides of the bowl with the tip of your spoon, then blending it vigorously into the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and allow double in size, about 1 hour.

Prepare the second dough:

1 large egg, room temp
2 large egg yolks, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Finely grated zest of 1 small tangerine or orange
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups flour; plus up to 1/4 cup for kneading

With a wooden spoon add egg, egg yolks, sugar, honey, vanilla, almond, zest and salt to the large bowl of freshly risen dough. Mix in the butter, again by smashing the pieces into the side of the bowl then stirring vigorously.  Add the flour and stir until smooth. Turn the dough out on a well-floured surface and sprinkle a bit of flour over the dough.  Using a wide spatula or a wide putty knife to pick up the dough, "knead" the dough by folding it over itself in all directions, picking up a little flour from the counter, until the dough is rounded, soft and saggy (not wet and sloppy).

Place your dough in a clean bowl that is well greased and cover with plastic wrap.  Rise for 2 hours in a cold oven with the light turned on, then place in the refrigerator overnight (optional).  In the morning, warm it up at room temp and let it rise again.  Fill the dough when it has risen to 3 times its original size (2x the night before and 1x in the morning if you choose the overnight method).

Prepare the filling:

2/3 cup black rum
2/3 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
1/2 cup cinnamon chips
Finely grated zest of 1 small tangerine or orange
2 tablespoons flour

Soak the dried fruit in black rum 30 minutes before the end of the morning rise. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Combine all your filling ingredients and mix well.  On a lightly floured surface, press out the dough into an oval shape. Sprinkle one half of the filling over the dough and roll up the dough into a log. Press out again into an oval shape and sprinkle over the remaining filling. Roll into a log shape again. Shape into a ball and drop into your prepared pan. Cut an X into the top of the dough and allow to double in size (about 2 hours).

Prepare an almond glaze:

1/4 cup ground almonds or almond "flour"
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 egg white
1 scant tablespoon oil
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/8 cup sugar
During the final rise, prepare the almond glaze. Stir together almond flour, powdered sugar and flour in a bowl until well blended. Add the egg white, oil and almond extract and mix well. When the panettone is well risen, carefully spread the mixture over the top, just coating the top without allowing glaze to pool up around the edges of the dough. Sprinkle sliced almonds over the topping, then sprinkle sugar over the almonds.

Preheat your oven to 400°F.  Place your panettone in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for another 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat again to 325°F and bake for 40 to 55 minutes, until the top is well browned and a skewer inserted into the center of the panettone comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then remove.  Lie your panettone on its side, cushioned with rolled up towels.  Rotate several times until cool.

Enjoy!  Happy holidays!


  1. Gorgeous job, Hannah! Your panettone looks fantastic! Love the cinnamon chips, cherries and tangerine zest, too! Delicious!

  2. Yours turned out so much fluffier and more beautiful than mine, haha. Great job!

  3. Your filling sounds so delicious and panettone looks awesome!

  4. Wow! What a beautiful pannettone! Just gorgeous!

  5. Oooh, that looks delicious! I love the flavor combinations. I bought a panettone paper for mine but next time I'll do what you did! Much easier! Thanks for sharing!


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