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.
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: