CHRISTMAS IN ITALY
For the Fruit:
- 10 ounces mixed dried fruits (currants, raisins, cranberries, dried cherries)
- 4 ounces candied lemon and orange peel (finely chopped)
- 2 ounces candied cherries
- 6 tablespoons Cointreau (or your favorite liqueur or fruit juice)
For the Dough:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dry yeast
- 6 ounces milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 cups strong bread
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 large large eggs
- 10 ounces unsalted butter
- 1 ounce almonds
- Prepare the Fruit
-Gather the ingredients
-Put all the dried and candied fruits into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
-Pour in the Cointreau, mix again
-Cover, and store in a cool dark place overnight. Do not refrigerate
- Prepare the Dough
- Gather the ingredients.
- Warm up 5 ounces of the milk to lukewarm temperature. Reserve the remaining ounce of milk in the fridge. In a heatproof jug or bowl, sprinkle the dry yeast over the warmed milk, stir in the sugar, and leave to one side for 5 minutes.
- Tip the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Sprinkle the salt into one side of the bowl. Pour in the frothy yeast mixture onto the other side—salt should never come into direct contact with dry or fresh yeast as it will kill the yeast, making the bread dense and hard.
- Mix the flour, salt, and yeast at slow speed to combine the ingredients. Add 5 of the eggs, turn the mixer to medium speed and continue mixing until the dough smooths out, although it will become sticky.
- Cut 9 ounces of the softened butter into bite-sized chunks. Raise the speed of the mixer and add the butter a few pieces at a time
- Let the mixer continue to run for at least 5 more minutes. The dough will turn glossy and even smoother and so soft and airy that it will be impossible to handle. That is the texture that you're looking for.
- Grease a large baking bowl or dish with 1/2 ounce of the remaining butter. To retain the maximum amount of air, let the dough slide down into the greased bowl by its own weight. Do not force it out.
- Scrape down any leftover dough with a soft spatula. Cover the greased bowl with a lid or tightly with plastic wrap and put it into a very cool place, preferably the fridge, and leave to proof overnight—the cold, long, slow rise will deliver the lightest of cakes. Slow is always better, and the result is a light and airy cake with a soft crumb.
Let’s make Panettone
Place dough on a floured work surface and spread out into a rectangular shape. Strain the soaked fruits through a cloth or something, discard the juice. Place one half of the fruits onto the spread-out dough then fold the dough over the fruits and lightly roll the dough around to evenly distribute the fruit. Spread the dough again and repeat as before with the remaining fruit. The dough will be lumpy and knobbly, but look out for clusters of fruit and give them another roll around to redistribute it, if needed.
Form the dough into a roughly shaped ball and then grease a 7-inch panettone tin or panettone paper case with the remaining 1/2 ounce of butter. If you don’t have neither of these, use a regular cake tin, but line the base and sides with greaseproof paper standing at least 2 inches above the rim.
Drop the dough into the center of the tin, tuck the almonds into the surface of the cake, and cover loosely with a tea cloth.
Leave the cake in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours until the dough is well risen and rising above the tin. If 3 hours isn't enough, give it enough time: The key here is to have the rise above the rim of the tin or case.
When the dough has risen preheat the oven to 180 C. Mix the remaining egg with the remaining ounce of milk and brush over the surface of the cake. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 150 Cand bake for a further 40 minutes. The panettone is ready when a skewer comes out clean from the middle part of the cake.
Let the cake cool for 5 minutes in the tin on a cooling rack, then remove and leave it to cool completely.
Buon Natale everybody! With Christmas just around corner we bring you a new recipe! This time we are in a beautiful Italy! Even tough it’s corona and you can’t travel you can bring tastes of Italy in your home so try this recipe and make some Panettone! Panettone is an Italian type of sweet bread and it’s made on Christmas day. Catholic tradition prohibits the consumption of meat on the evenings before religious holidays. Most Italians, therefore, eat a fishy feast on Christmas Eve, one so abundant that the lack of animal flesh is hardly noticed. So because of Christmas eve on Christmas day Italians eat a dozen dish courses and most of them contain meat. There are few Christmas traditions in Italy that bring joy to the children but also grownups. There is Epiphany night, on Epiphany night, children believe that an old lady called 'Befana' brings presents for them it’s substitute for Santa Claus. The Christmas celebrations start eight days before Christmas with special 'Novenas' or a series of prayers and church services and also carolling where children go out Carol singing and playing songs on shepherds pipes, wearing shepherds sandals and hats. But one of the most important ways of celebrating Christmas in Italy is the Nativity crib scene. Using a Nativity scene to help tell the Christmas story was made very popular by St. Francis of Assisi in 1223. And now you are ready for your Italian Christmas, ti auguro un Natale pieno di amore, pace e gioia sincera!