Chocolate, Cherry, and Pistachio Panettone

chocolate, cherry, and pistachio panettone | apt 2b baking co
chocolate, cherry, and pistachio panettone | apt 2b baking co
chocolate, cherry, and pistachio panettone | apt 2b baking co

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

pearl sugar

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.)

Eva's Chicken Empanadas

eva's chicken empanadas | apt 2b baking co
eva's chicken empanadas | apt 2b baking co
chicken empanadas | apt 2b baking co
chicken empanadas | apt 2b baking co

So many fall cookbooks, so little time! Today's recipe comes from Eva Kosmas Flores, who you may know from her beautiful blog, Adventures in Cooking. She also hosts the dreamiest-looking workshops all over the world that are so beautiful and inspiring. Maybe one day I'll get to join in....This is all to say, that her new book Adventures in Chicken came out last week and it is chock-full of so many (150!) inspiring ideas on how to use everyone's favorite bird, all photographed in Eva's signature moody style. 

I don't talk much about savory food here, which is something I am trying to switch up, so when Eva asked if I'd like to check out her book I totally jumped at the chance - I still made something baked, of course :) There were tons of baked options to choose from, but these cute little empanadas caught my eye, and I'm so glad they did. I have to admit, even as a pie-pro, making the adorable braided edges of traditional empanadas (called the repulse) escaped me a bit...but they puffed up quite a bit in the oven and ended up looking pretty cute if I do say so myself! I served these empanadas room temp with a little non-traditional yogurt sauce spiked with lots of salt, lime, cumin, and chili powder and they were such a satisfying comforting meal. 

There are so many more recipes that I can't wait to explore including lots of appetizers, a galette, a couple of pot pies, casseroles, ways to use less appreciated parts of the bird (like livers and feet), and many ways to roast a bird - all with thoughtful twists that make them feel really special. Congrats Eva, on an amazing accomplishment (developing, styling, and shooting 150 recipes is a gargantuan task) and gorgeous book!

Chicken Empanadas from Adventures in Chicken by Eva Kosmas Flores

makes about 24 empanadas

Dough

2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 teaspoon onion powder

pinch kosher salt

1/2 cup lard (I used vegetable shortening)

1 large egg, beaten

4-6 tablespoons vegetable stock 

Filling

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

 1 medium hello onion, diced

1 serrano chile, seeded and diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder

1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced

1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water

For the dough, in a large bowl mix together the flour, onion powder, and salt until combined. Add the lard and pinch it with your fingers until a crumbly sand-like mixture forms. Add the egg an knead into the dough. Add the vegetable stock, 1 tablespoon at a time kneading until a smooth dough forms. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes or up to 2 days.

For the filling, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, chile, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until softened and the onion becomes slightly translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken, cumin, salt, chile powder, and pepper and stir to combine. Cook, stirring every 2 minutes until the chicken is just cooked through 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the eggs, and let cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Roll out the dough on a clean and lightly floured work surface until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Use a 4-inch circular cutter to cut one dough round. Spoon about 1 heparin teaspoon of the filing onto the bottom half of the round. Dip your finger in a glass of water and trade it around the edge of the top half of the dough. Fold it over the bottom half and press the edges together to seal.

To create the repulse (the braided-looking edge) start at one corner of the sealed empanada and fold the corner up over the top, pinching it together with the top once you fold it. Repeat this again with the new corner that formed at the base of the last fold and continue until sealed all the way along the edge. Place the empanada on a baking sheet. If you don't want to to the repulse, you can press the edges together to seal then roll the sealed edge towards the filling to make the seal more secure.

Repeat with the remaining ingredients, spacing the empanadas about 2-inches apart on the baking sheet. This may take some time, so I recommend keeping a kitchen towel over the rolled-out dough to keep it from drying out and becoming unpliable. Brush the empanadas with egg wash and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until puffy and golden. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving.