Gennaro’s traditional panettone
There are many legends about the origins of this Italian Christmas treat. Panettone is traditionally served with a glass of Spumante at the end of the Christmas meal, but it is equally delicious with dessert wine or simply a nice cup of espresso or even tea. Courtesy of Gennaro Contaldo, our recipe uses Burford Browns for a fabulously light loaf cake, with a sprinkling of dried fruit for an authentically festive flavour.
Soak the sultanas in lukewarm water and rum and set aside.
Dissolve 10g of yeast together with 1 teaspoon sugar in the milk. Place 100g of flour in a bowl, pour in the yeast mixture and work into a smooth dough. Form into a ball, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for about 1 hour, until the dough doubles in size.
Remove the cling film and add two eggs, crumble in the remaining yeast, 180g of flour and mix well. Add 60g of sugar, 60g of butter and with your hands incorporate all the ingredients to a sticky dough. Form into a ball, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
Drain and squeeze excess liquid out of the sultanas and set aside.
Remove the cling film. Add two eggs, three yolks and the remaining flour and work well with your hands for 10 minutes – the dough will be quite sticky but continue to mix with your hands. Mix in the remaining sugar and the salt. Incorporate 50g of butter until well amalgamated, then add what’s left of the 160g butter. Add the candied peel, lemon zest, sultanas and vanilla. Mix well, cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place for at least 2 hours, until the mixture has doubled in size once more.
In the meantime, lightly grease the cake tin with the knob of butter and line with greaseproof paper. Remove the dough mixture and place on a lightly floured surface and work for a minute. Place the dough into the prepared tin, cover with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for at least 2 hours, until it has doubled in size once again. Preheat the oven to 200C. With a small, sharp knife, make a cross on the top and place a knob of butter in the middle. Place on the bottom shelf of the oven and bake for 1 hour. After 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 190C. If you notice the top of the cake getting dark too quickly, reduce the oven temperature to 180C.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly in the tin. Remove from the tin and allow to cool before serving.
1 tablespoon rum
12g fresh yeast
160g sugar, plus 1 extra teaspoon
60ml milk, lukewarm
500g extra fine flour
4 Burford Brown eggs
160g butter, softened at room temperature, plus two extra knobs of butter
3 Burford Brown egg yolks
40g candied fruit peel
Zest of 1 lemon
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
1 loose-bottomed Panettone tin, 18 cm in diameter and 10 cm high