Panettone is Italy’s version of the traditional English Christmas fruit cake. I was never a huge fan of panettone growing up in Australia, as the majority of the ones you find are processed and store-bought. When I moved to Italy, I noticed that during the festive season, many people bought their panettone at the forno or pasticceria and being able to eat a freshly made one was what eventually convinced me that panettone is actually enjoyable. This recipe comes from my friend Toni Brancatisano.
My friend Toni makes these super-cute mini individual versions of panettone, which are sure to become a Christmas favourite in your home too.
- 200 g (7 oz) sultanas (golden raisins)
- 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) rum
- 3 tsp brewer’s yeast
- 330 ml (11 fl oz) lukewarm water
- 60 g (2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 60 g (2 oz/⅓ cup) brown sugar
- 700 g (1 lb 9 oz/4⅔ cups) ‘00’ flour
- 3 eggs
- 175 g (6 oz) soft butter, melted but not hot, plus extra melted butter for glazing
- olive oil, for greasing
- finely grated zest of 2 oranges
- 110 g (4 oz) mixed candied citrus peels, chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Proving time: 1 hour
Rising time: 1 hour
Soak the sultanas in the rum for 20–30 minutes, then drain and set aside; reserve the rum for another use.
Combine the yeast, water and sugars in a bowl and allow to stand for 10 minutes, or until foamy.
Using an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour and eggs until combined. Slowly incorporate the yeast mixture until a dough forms. With the mixer running, slowly add the melted butter and continue kneading until well combined. The dough should be smooth, soft and slightly sticky. If it appears too wet, add a little more flour.
Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with a clean dry tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Knock back the dough by giving it a few punches to remove any air bubbles. Sprinkle over the rum soaked sultanas, orange zest and mixed peel. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the fruit into the dough. Continue to knead for 5–10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary, until the dough is soft and pliable, but not sticky.
Form the dough into a smooth ball, then divide into 10 balls of equal weight (about 130 g/4½ oz each). Place each one in an 8 cm (3¼ inch) panettone paper casing on a baking tray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave to rise again for 1 hour in a warm place.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
Bake the panettone for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F) and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat again to 160°C (320°F) and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the tops are well browned, and a skewer inserted into a panettone comes out clean.
Remove from the oven, brush the tops with a little melted butter and leave to cool on a wire rack.
The panettone are best enjoyed fresh, but can be stored for up to 1 week in an airtight container.