We had our first snow last night. It was just a light dusting that was gone as soon as it fell, but I loved every single second of our little snowfall. It also made me very excited for our road trip to Minneapolis to celebrate Christmas this year, which hopefully will be blanketed in a thick layer of the white fluffy stuff. We are packing up the car, pup, (my cd case from college haha!) and heading west for 17 hours of terribly forecasted weather - so cross your fingers for us! Luckily the pup has proven to be a very good road-trip companion. I hope he likes mix cds from the early aughts!
In the meantime I am a baking machine - cookies, brownies, bars, caramel corn, I'm doing it all! I even made my very first panettone which is a traditional Italian Christmas bread enriched with sugar and eggs, and lots of candied citron and raisins. I couldn't leave well enough alone so I added some chocolate and pistachios to mine too, and replaced the raisins with tart cherries.
The panettone is made over the course of a couple days so the process is a bit long, but there is a lot of resting and rising time so don't let that put you off. The leftovers, if you have any, also make excellent bread pudding.
Chocolate, Cherry, and Pistachio Panettone
1 6-inch panettone
Adapted from Sullivan Street Bakery and Brown Eyed Baker
This is a pumped-up panettone with lots of extra mix-ins for maximum holiday enjoyment. For a more traditional take use 1 cup of raisins rather than cherries and skip the chocolate and pistachios. Like a lot of yeast breads, this one takes a bit of time and planning but it’s mostly hands-off. I followed the schedule from Melissa at Brown Eyed Baker and it worked great for me.
Day one AM - Soak the cherries
Day one PM - Make the dough
Overnight - Rise
Day two AM - Shape the dough and let it rise
Day two PM - Bake the panettone
You’ll also need a paper panettone mold to bake the bread. Panettone molds are easy to find online, but in a pinch you can add a parchment paper collar to a high-sided cake or springform pan.
1 cup dried cherries, chopped
2 tablespoon light rum
2 tablespoons hot water
3 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2/3 cup lukewarm water
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon mild honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces2/3 cup candied citron (or orange peel) chopped
1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (optional)
1/2 cup chopped pistachios (optional)
1 beaten egg, for egg wash
paper panettone mold
Put the cherries in a small bowl and pour the rum and hot water over the top. Stir occasionally until the cherries are plump and have absorbed most of the liquid, about 8 hours.
Mix the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and lemon zest on low speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until combined. In a small bowl, whisk together lukewarm water, eggs, vanilla extract, and honey. With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture.
Increase the speed to medium-low and mix to combine. Add the softened butter one tablespoon at a time, waiting for each piece to be thoroughly mixed in before adding the next. Increase speed to medium-high and mix until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Drain the liquid from the cherries and stir in the candied citron, chocolate, pistachios, and cherries. Transfer the dough to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a cool oven to rise until almost tripled in size, 12 to 15 hours.
The next day, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Fold the edges of the dough towards the center to form a loose ball and place it into the panettone mold, seam side down. Cover the with a towel and let the dough rise at room temperature until it has risen to the top of the mold, 3-4 hours.
Just before the dough has finished rising preheat your oven to 350ºF. Then, just before baking brush the dough with egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake the panettone until deep golden brown and cooked through, 50-70 minutes.
As soon as the panettone is cool enough to handle, pierce a wooden skewer all the way through and hang the panettone upside down about 4 hours. (I forgot to do this, but it is supposed to keep the panettone from collapsing as it cools.)