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Italian Christmas Cake

by Maria Linardi last modified 2008-06-20 15:12

No Italian Christmas menu is complete without Panettone. Here's an easy-to-follow recipe to make your very own Italian Christmas cake

PanettonePanettone with sauce

(for eight)

320 gr white flour
100 gr sultana raisins
60 gr butter (melted)
75 gr castor sugar
60 gr candied peel
21 gr brewer's yeast
12 gr honey
1 egg and 4 yolks
Grand Marnier Brandy
orange essence
flour and butter to prepare the tin

Chocolate sauce:
100 gr dark chocolate
Orange sauce
250 gr ready-prepared custard
Fruit of the forest sauce
100 gr raspberries
100 gr castor sugar
50 gr cranberries

Mix 18 gr of yeast with 30 mls of warm water. Add a pinch of salt and gently work the yeast mixture into 80 gr of the flour until it is soft and smooth. Cover with a heavy cloth and leave in a warm place (25°-28° circa) to rise for about 90 minutes. In the meantime soak the raisins and candied peel in half a glass of Grand Marnier. When the dough has risen place in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually add the melted butter, flour, egg and yolks. Once the mixture is smooth and shiny add the sugar (melted in a little warm water), honey and a few drops of orange essence. Beat for another 5 minutes then add the remaining crumbs of yeast. Check the dough is elastic and sticky, if it's too dry work in a little warm water. Drain the raisins and peel and add to the dough then beat for a few more minutes.

We recommend you use a special Panettone mould if you want an authentic Italian Panettone (which is taller than it is wide). Grease an 18 cm round cake tin (at least 10 cm high). Line the bottom of the tin with greaseproof paper and grease it once more. Sprinkle with flour. Put dough in tin and leave to rise - it should double in height. Preheat the oven to 250°C and bake the Panettone for 10 minutes, lower the temperature to 165°C and bake for a further 50 minutes covering the cake with tinfoil if it is browning too quickly.

Allow the Panettone to cool and serve with one of these delicious sauces.
Chocolate sauce: break the chocolate into a bowl with 100 ml water and a glass of rum. Melt over boiling water.
Orange sauce: Add the grated peel of one orange to some ready-prepared custard.
Fruit of the forest sauce: Whisk the sugar and fruit together until you get a dense sauce.

Use wild yeast instead of brewer's yeast for a more authentic flavour. Try and make your own by leaving some gluten-rich flour and yoghurt to ferment for at least 48 hours.

Panettone is a traditional Milanese cake and is usually served with spumante from Piedmont or a sweet Colli Albani spumante.

Panettone facts
Milan - - from the Lonely Planet guide

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