Pannetone is something I had wanted to make for a while before I had the chance to, or a situation it was appropriate for. Well, heading off to Alaska back in August seemed the perfect opportunity to make it, who wouldn’t want some delicious Pannetone on the road? I figured it would make a nice dessert to take with us, and it is supposed to keep fairly well. With the Pugliese I posted earlier, and the Pannetonne we were totally set!
I used the pannetone recipe from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice, it starts out with a wild yeast sponge and soaking the dried or candied fruits in a mixture of extracts and brandy. I used golden raisins, blueberries, and a triple dried cherry mix (a bit nontraditional, I know) along with fior di sicilia and lemon extract.
Those were allowed to sit overnight, and then the rest of the ingredients for the final dough were mixed the next day.
After the dough is mixed came time to mix in the fruit mixture. The fruits smelled really wonderful after soaking overnight in the extracts and brandy, it filled the room when I took off the plastic wrap covering them. The brandy added a subtle red coloring to the dough, along with making it stickier! It was tricky to get all the fruit and all of the sliced almonds into the dough, but I managed eventually.
The smell of the dough was really quite intoxicating after it had risen, the previous fragrance of the fruits, extracts, and brandy was combined now with the aroma of the fermenting bread, it smelled good enough to eat just like that! I managed to resist though, and divided the dough into two roughly equal pieces and put them into pannetone papers.
After another rise, the pannetone loaves looked ready to go so into the fires they went! Really made the kitchen smell wonderful as it was baking, not quite as good as the Artos, but close.
The loaf ended up getting cut before it was cooled, because some people wanted a taste before they went home. Everyone loved it, and my girlfriend’s dad’s girlfriend said it was the best she’d had since she was back when she was in New York or Italy. She took one of the two loaves home while the other one went on the road with us. I think I’d make this again, although there are some other pannetone recipes I’d like to try, but I definitely want to play around with the fruit mix, and maybe even try nuts other than almonds. We’ll see what the future holds…