Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Italian Panettone

Panettone... a sweet bread, originally from Milan, is usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year in Italy, Brazil, Malta, Germany and Switzerland.

It has a cupola shape, which extends from a cylindrical base. It is made during a long process that involves the fermentation of the dough, which is acidic, similar to sourdough. The proofing process alone takes several days, giving the cake its distinctive fluffy characteristics. It contains candied orange and lemon peel, lemon zest, and raisins which are added dry and not soaked. It is served in slices, vertically cut, accompanied with sweet hot beverages or a sweet wine, such as Asti or Moscato d'Asti. In some regions of Italy, it is served with crema di mascarpone, a cream made from mascarpone, eggs, sometimes dried or candied fruits, and typically a sweet liqueur such as amaretto; if mascarpone cheese is unavailable, zabaione is sometimes used as a substitute.

The final step in mixing Panettone dough is the addition of lots of butter.
Candied orange and lemon peel, two kinds of raisins and orange zest are added to the dough.

Panettone dough in its paper collar --- before proofing (fermentation).

Six hours later the risen dough is brushed with egg wash.
Pearl sugar is sprinkled on the dough before it is placed in the oven.
Rising in the oven
Golden brown --- just about ready to be taken from the oven.
To keep the delicate dough from collapsing, Panettone is cooled upside down.
Cool and ready to be enjoyed.

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