January 25, 2011


My three 


came to Vermont this weekend for a wintery visit.  Besides trying out all the sports our backyard has to offer: sledding, skating, skiing and yes, even swinging, the girls also explored all things Italian.

They are homeschooled and since this week they were studying Italy, it all culminated with a fun fest at our house.

I thought you, dear reader, might be interested in the panettone I made for the occasion.  Because it's delicious.  And scrumtious.  And this will only be a beginner level course on pantettone so have no fear!

Ok, so Panettone is the classic Italian sweet bread.  Most say it developed in Milan and many say it is served for Christmas (which it is), but I'm Italian and I grew up having it on a bunch of other occasions too and in a bunch of different forms.  My recipe below is very much a short cut version, but it did the trick for the weekend and I had no problem enjoying the results with my tea ( it's really so much better with coffee or espresso, but do I really need to complain again of how I'm trying to drink tea 90% of the time?  Yeah, thought I heard you calling me whiny!)

Winter Weekend Pantettone  
 1 egg                                             1/4 C toasted chopped pine nuts
2 egg yolks                                      1/2 C raisins, citron, dried fruit etc mix
1/2C cooled melted butter                       3C flour
1t lemon peel                                        2t baking soda 
1t anise seed                                     1/2 t salt
1t anise extract
1t fiori di scilia (or 1/4t each lemon, orange, vanilla and almond extract)
1C milk
1 paper bag

Beat the egg, yolks and sugar together until thick and yellow.  Beat in the melted butter and add lemon peel, anise seed, extracts, pine nuts and fruit.  Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Alternately add dry ingredients and milk to the batter until all is mixed in.

Preheat oven to 325*.   Take the bag you are going to use and fold it down to the size you'd prefer- go for somewhere near 2-2 3/4" folded cuff.  Traditionally it would have around 3 1/2 x 6" in the bottom.  Butter the inside of the bag generously (I found brushing on melted butter works perfectly) and place on a cookie sheet.

Pour batter in bag and bake for about 1 hour and 45 minutes or until bread is well browned.  When baked, you can serve it hot by tearing off the paper bag and slicing into it, but it's really best when allowed to sit.  Fold down the bag then wrap it in a cloth.  THEN wrap the whole thing in foil and allow it to cool so the flavors can mellow.  I sometimes let it sit for 2 days before opening.  When you are ready, peel away all the layers and MANGIA!!!

field notes: I made this loaf during a snow storm and we were out of all but 1/2 C white flour so I had to go heavy with the spelt flour.  It still tasted great, but as you can see- didn't rise too well.  I chopped up the candied fruit and citron into tiny pieces and I also used the large King Arthur bag to bake it in so the bread was more of a loaf form rather than a puffy circle shape.

 Hmm, hold on a minute, there's something not quite right here...

 Ahh, better.  Now if only you could SMELL how heavenly this is!!!!

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