We are planning a holiday party, with an Italian food theme (but with Mexican touches.) Today, inspired by a post on the lonelyplanet.com Thorn Tree, Get Stuffed Branch, I decised to make panettone. Although I'm somewhat familiar with the process, it took hours and hours for the cakes to rise. Somewhere around 2 1/2 hours for the final rise. Together with the sponge stage and the dough fermentation, the total rising time was on the order of 7 hours. This is a laborious process. We even made our own candied citrus peels.
I was vindicated in my faith. They turned out very nicely.
This morning, I cut a slice and toasted it for a sample. Below are my comments To "CHRISSY" on the Thorn Tree Get Stuffed Branch:
Tastes great, but it's still a bit undercooked in the center of the smaller one. (The one that had no tube.) This is a problem I feared. I hope the larger came out better. The properly baked part is very tender and cake-like, not the long fleecy strands I had in a panettone made by experts, yet quite satisfactory. There is a bit too much acidity from the sourdough plus the juice of a lemon. I could have left one or another out.
As to the recipe, I didn't find a recipe that pleased me, so, instead, using a recipe for "Panettone-No Knead" in The Joy of Cooking, I improvised from their basis. I would tell you what I did, but it's irreproducible.
Besides, the results were flawed. I will say that I used a little sourdough starter and very little yeast, about 1 TBSP. There was a cup of warm milk and 2 cups flour for the sponge, then 4 egg yolks and 3 whole eggs, a cup of sugar, 3 tsps of salt, vanilla, candied peels (homemade, so that they are tasty), a cup of dark raisins (sultanas—all I had, no golden raisins—, a cup of moist dried apricots, snipped into quarters, the lot soaked in dark rum, and drained before adding to the mixed dough. There's also about a cup of toasted blanched almonds, chopped. (This project was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it.)
Earlier today (today felt like 2 days in 24 hours, but fun.), I roasted vegetables for a Lasagna di Verdure.
To be continued...