Sunday, December 6, 2009

How Gourmet Magazine took me back home.

I live on Garrison lake, by the Pacific, in Oregon.
For Christmas, we hang around the dock and catch ourselves a trout or bass or perch.
Our holidays are simple and easy going.

But I long for things I had when I was a child in Italy.  At Christmas, more than at any other time. So, when I opened the December issue of Gourmet, last year,  there was an article about making PANETTONE at home. Panettone is the traditional Christmas bread in Italy.

The two page step-by step instructions provided by Jim Lahey of Sullivan St. Bakery in New York City made the process look simple and doable.

Now, I don't  do much baking.
I do bake a pear tart, as the yummy one above using our harvest pears in September.

Making panettone was never on my list of things to try. But making something that you had as a child, something your mother and grandmother were fond of serving back in the old country, became an irrestible urge.

I had time.
I had the ingredients.
I just had to send for the special paper molds  with a phone call to Sir Arthur Flour.

So, following Jim Lahey, this is how to make panettone. Active time: 20 minutes. Start to finish, two whole days.


1C raisins
2Tbsp light rum
2/3C tepid water plus 2Tbsp hot water, divided
3 3/4 C all purpose flour
2/3 C sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t active dry yeast
1/4 t lemon zest
1/2 vanilla bean, split lenghtwise
3 large eggs at room temp.
1Tbsp mild honey
12 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter ( 10  1/2 Tbsp cut into tablespoons and well softened; 1Tbsp melted, 1 T chilled
2/3 C candied citron, small pieces

a heavy duty stand mixer with paddle attachment; a panettone paper mold; 2 metal skewers, long

-Soak raisins in rum and 2 Tbsp of hot water, preferably overnight.
-Mix flour, sugar, salt, yeast, zest and vanilla bean at low speed until combined
-Whisk together eggs, , 2/3 C of tepid water, honey.
-With mixer at low, pour egg mixture into flour mixture until combined. Increase speed to medium.
-Add 10 1/2 Tabsp of butter, one T at a time. When all butter added, increase speed to medium-high until dough is smooth and elastic. About 8 minutes.
-Drain raisins, add citron pieces and 1Tbsp of melter butter. Stir into dough with wooden spoon.
-Place dough in a large bowl , cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a cold oven for 15 hours.
-Discard vanilla bean and sprinkle dough with some flour before you  fold seams down and fit in the panettone mold*
-Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise for 5 hours.
-Preheat oven to 370 F with rack in lower third.
-Place mold on a baking sheet and score a big X across the entire top, with a serrated knife.
-Add a Tbsp of butter on the X
-Bake 1-1 1/2 hour, or until a wooden skewer comes out slightly moist. Panettone will be very dark.

-Use the big skewers and pierce the panettone including the paper mold 1 inch from the bottom, so skewers are parallel and the panettone can hang upside down over a large stockpot and cool completely.

Panettone keeps , wrapped tightly in foil in a sealable bag, for a week or two at room temperature.

I made a dozen of these, and gave them away to friends and family members.

We ate Panettone for breakfast on Christmas morning, and it felt as though we were sitting at the table with Mamma e Nonna in sunny Italy.

p.s. If you want to learn about Christmas traditions in Italy, check these other blogs:


Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Awww...loverly! I'm going to make Sugar Plums at my mom's in Grants Pass for Xmas...

Oh and Gourmet, then Bon, I'm a Silver Palate kinda girl...

Brian Miller said...

ah. wonderful cool to relive those childhood memories...keeps us young. smiles.

willow said...

I can imagine that heavenly scent! I might just have to give this a whirl. Thanks for the recipe. I am heartbroken Gourmet is closing it's doors, btw.

ds said...

How lovely. Isn't it wonderful when reality matches memory?

Sophia said...

I've not had the opp to try these before. I just might have to this Christmas, being that EVERYTHING is new for me this year. Thank you for sharing.

Hope you have a good week.

Eva Gallant said...

Glad you found that link to your past! enjoy!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

I don't cook, but I love to eat and this sounds fantastic!

Man of Roma said...

Wow, a home-made Panettone. We never do it here, at least in my family. It's much easier to buy it. Moving how you want to go back to your Italian child's memories. Did they make it at home in Lucania or you're just doing it now because you don't find panettone in stores? I guess it is the latter probably.

becky at abbeystyle said...

Yummmmm. Christmas breads are the best links to the glad you could make the connection. Hang on to that magazine! Publishing is a fragile business these days...

Shadow said...

yum yum yummy!!!!!! but lazy ole me already bought one....

Anonymous said...

The smells must be delicious.

Polly said...

I love Panettone! I've never tried making it myself but perhaps I should use your recipee and give it a go.

ellen abbott said...

Sounds yummy but bread is something I have never tried to make. Maybe I'll try.

NitWit1 said...

I can almost smell it cooking!

My specialty was candy. I can make candy when everybody else's fails/.

Fudge. date pecan roll, Divinity. My secret, not really a secret, was two-fold extreme attention to temperature, i.e., use a thermometer, and never make candy when humidy is high.

My mother could bake any kind of pie and made good pie crust which I never mastered.

Nancy said...

Isn't that what makes Christmas special? Traditions. They bring back memories of people, places, warm thoughts. I love this recipe and will pass it on to my husband - he bakes all of our bread. Thanks so much for participating!

Snowbrush said...

I've enjoyed catching up on your blog. How sweet the doggie looks--not at all camera shy like my blue heeler. The noise sends her running, so I never get more than one shot.

How little Port Orford looks!

Yes, I can well imagine your longing for the foods of your childhood. I'm from Mississippi (originally) where the cooking is very different from how I cook here in Oregon. Mine is so much healthier though than all that deep frying and overly sweetened desserts that it tempers my nostalgia greatly. I greatly prefer my whole grains in all their magnificent variety.

Maggie May said...

raisins and rum..........mmmmmmmmmhhhhhhh!
That sounds good!

Nuts in May

Marguerite said...

Homemade Panettone sounds wonderful! My daughter is the bread maker in our family, so I will pass this yummy recipe on to her. Thanks for sharing!

pink dogwood said...

I always make the christmas breakfast for our family and I want to attempt to make this (and impress them with a few italian phrases :)

How important is it to get the paper mold? what would be an substitute


cheshire wife said...

I think that I shall cheat and buy it!

lakeviewer said...

For those of you who want to try making panettone:

1. you can use disposal pans, and poke the bottom with the skewers, turn them upside down and cool them that way.

2. having the paper molds makes it all more festive and easier to cool and manuveur. Go to King Arthur Flour on the web and order there, or by calling their 800 number. Easy.

3. If you haven't eaten panettone before, buy one first, and see if you like the taste enough to want to go all the way. I happen to be mad about it; plus, I have not found a local supplier.

4. any leftover can be toasted and used with cream, ice cream, berries for a fabolous dessert. I even make french toast with mine.

Journaling Woman said...

I really don't like to cook, but I can watch cooking shows for hours. It looks like so much fun. It just isn't for me.

I will head over to your other blog to look at Italy.

lakeviewer said...

Man of Roma--I lived in Los Angeles, where one could purchase Panettone all year long. Here, it's hard to find. Making my own, and sharing it, has been a blast for me, helping me compose memoir pieces with each bite.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Wonderful, happy post. Holiday memories are the best.
Thanks for sharing.

tattytiara said...

Okay, you've inspired me. For years I've sat around missing my mother's holiday shortbread. This year I'm going to try and do something about it. I'm sure I have the recipe somewhere. Wish me luck!

Cynthia Pittmann said...

What a Christmas inspiration! Thank you also for the comment on Oasis...we have a Christmas season here, too, and it lasts and lasts...through January 14th-eight days after Three Kings Day! At least we get a bit of cold in the can get almost 70 degrees! :-)

Hilary said...

It sounds like it would be delicious. I can just imagine the comforting memories it evoked in you. Foods and smells so often do that.

Berowne said...

I've often passed by panettone in the store and not given it a second glance. But that list of ingredients is an eye-opener; I had no idea what went into that bread. It's a total Italian opera with that list of characters.

the walking man said...

But what do you do with the left over rum....Oh never mind I get it. Bread and

Reya Mellicker said...

I LOVE panetonne, but never tried making it before. Usually I eat the dried out stuff you buy at the store, but this year I'm going to do it!

Thanks for the recipe. I am inspired.

lakeviewer said...

Folks, this recipe is totally forgiving; that is, if you don't have the food processor, fine, fold the butter in. That's what I did. I spread the butter on one side, folded it in, spread the rest and kept folding. With that much butter in any recipe, you're bound to have a light batter, that will feel like a wonderful brioche when you are eating it.

What, you don't know about brioche? Ah. I will have to return to give you that recipe, if you wish.

Note: if you like making bread, this recipe is just your cup of tea.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Sounds well worth waiting two days to taste it. And much better than fruit cake.

Thanks for the recipe.

Reasons said...

You really have me salivating. That sounds scumptious! thank you for the recipe

Man of Roma said...

I understand Rosaria. It is good to be able to do things with one's hands: bread, pizza, wine, pasta, beer etc.

I mean, good for "others". As far as I'm concerned, I can't do absolutely nothing.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

You're killing me, I've had to go gluten free for health reasons. I can dream though.

I love the description of your Christmas in Oregon. Sounds find by me.

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

My mother was one who enjoyed cooking, keeping the Italian traditions she grew up with in Italy, alive and loving. I too, have come to enjoy bringing those memories to my holiday table. This Thanksgiving, I was invited to spend with my son. When he served stuffing made as I often do, and as his Grandmother did, no words could describe the deep smile within my heart.

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Rosaria! What a bread adventure!
It really sounds heavenly!I don't think I have the nerve to try this one though? Who knows? I get pretty nervy sometimes. I'm saving it just in case! HA!

Miss jane said...


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