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Panettone [Italian Christmas Bread]

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A recipe for Panettone, Italian Christmas bread, with a brioche-like dough infused with a vanilla bean and studded with rum-soaked raisins and candied orange peel.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 1 hr
Resting time 1 d 4 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs
Servings 12 servings (6-inch loaf)
Calories 381

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons light rum
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ vanilla bean split in half lengthwise
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • cup tepid water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 10½ tablespoons unsalted butter well softened
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter chilled
  • cup candied citron I used candied orange peel in ¼-inch pieces

Special Equipment:

  • Panettone molds 6x4½-inch - purchased at King Arthur Flour
  • 12- inch metal or wooden skewers

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the raisins with the rum and 2 tablespoons of hot water. Allow to soak at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the raisins are plump and most of the liquid has been absorbed, at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, lemon zest and vanilla bean on low speed until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, tepid water and honey. With the mixer on low speed, pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Increase the speed to medium-low and mix until all of the ingredients are combined. Add the softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until incorporated before adding more. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
  • Drain the raisins, discard the soaking liquid, and stir together with the candied citron and 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Stir this mixture into the dough with a wooden spoon.
  • Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a cold oven with the door closed until it has nearly tripled in volume, 12 to 15 hours.
  • Locate and discard the vanilla bean, then sprinkle the dough lightly with flour and scrape out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle a bit more flour onto the dough, then fold the edges of the dough in towards the center, forming a loose ball, and place, seam-side down, into the panettone mold. Cover with a damp kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until the dough is just above the top of the mold, 3 to 5 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 370 degrees F.
  • Place the dough-filled panettone mold on a baking sheet. Use a very sharp serrated knife to score an "X" across the entire surface of the dough. Place the 1 tablespoon chilled butter in the center of the X and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out slightly moist but not wet, 60 to 75 minutes (the panettone will be very dark).
  • Remove from the oven and pierce 12-inch metal or wooden skewers all the way through the panettone (including the paper) 4 inches apart and 1 inch from the bottom so the skewers are parallel. Hang the panettone upside down over a large stockpot and cool completely before cutting. To store the panettone, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then either place in a resealable plastic bag, or wrap again in foil. The bread will keep at room temperature for up to 1 week. (I have not tried freezing the bread, but I believe it would freeze well, wrapped in plastic, then foil, then placed in a resealable bag.)

Notes

Nutritional values are based on one serving

Nutrition

Calories: 381kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 127mg | Potassium: 169mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 425IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 2.3mg