Panettone is a sweet bread loaf that originated in Milan. It is usually prepared for Christmas or New Year in Italy, Malta, Brazil and Switzerland. It is also a Christmas staple in Latin America. Most people enjoy it with sweet wine or sweet hot beverages. It can be eaten toasted with butter or mascarpone cheese. You can also use it for French toast.
1 package active dry yeast (.25 ounce)
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brandy or grappa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup raisins
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and spray a round 8-inch cake pan with non-stick spray.
In a bowl, combine yeast, water and sugar. Cover mixture and let it stand for 10 minutes, or until foamy. Then stir in eggs, yogurt, vanilla, lemon zest, orange zest, brandy/grappa and salt. Mix well. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time until you can make a ball with the dough.
On a lightly floured surface knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes. Add flour as necessary, until it is soft and pliable, but not sticky. There is no limit as to how much flour to use. You can use 5 cups or more.
Place the dough in a large bowl. Store in a warm place for 1 hour or until the size doubles.
In another bowl, toss dried fruit with confectioners’ sugar. Knead the dough in a floured surface and mix in the dried fruit. After, form a ball with the dough.
Place the dough in the cake pan; cover it loosely with a dish towel. Let it rise again for 30 minutes or until the loaf rises above the pan sides. Brush the dough with melted butter and bake for 45 minutes or until it is golden brown. Insert a toothpick in the loaf and make sure it comes out clean. This means it is already cooked and ready to serve.
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