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A wonderful tasting Italian bread usually baked at Christmas. It is loaded with dry fruits and/or candied fruits and is beautiful when sliced.

Pannetone bread can be served in so many ways. It can served with a big scoop of gelato, or with a butter cream icing. It makes the best bread pudding I have ever tasted. And please.... it is not a fruitcake. You can use raisins, dried figs, candied lemon or orange zest. I personally like the dried fruit not mixed with the candied fruit, and vice-versa. But, this is a personal choice and you are going to be pleased with the results no matter what you do. And oh...Pannetone makes the best Pain Perdue or French toast.


INGREDIENTS:  Serves 6 - 8
•   1/2  cup seedless golden raisins
•   1/2  cup seedless dark raisins
•   1/2  cup Black Mission figs -- cut in 1/2-inch
•   1/2  cup Calimyrna figs -- cut in 1/2-inch
•   3/4  cup cognac

•   1/2  cupmilk -- at room temperature
•   4 teaspoons moist yeast or 2 tsps. dry yeast
•   3/4  cup  organic all-purpose white flour,  (Best to use a high gluten flour)

•   9  tablespoons  unsalted butter, softened
•   1/3  cup sugar
•   1/2 vanilla bean halved horizontally, or
•   1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•   2 large eggs, at room temperature
•   4  egg yolks,  at room temperature
•   1/2  teaspoon fine sea salt
•   3  cups organic all-purpose white flour* (3 to 4)
•   2 tablespoons unsalted butter,  melted

You may use more or less depending on the weight and absorbency of your flour. Note: Allow 8 hours
to soak the fruits. Allow 1 hour to ferment the poolish. Total preparation and baking time (not including
fermenting the poolish or soaking the fruits): 7 hours, 15 minutes. A classic in Italy and France at
holiday time, this bread is so light and well packed with fruit that it's almost a confection. It's good
anytime you want something sweet with tea or coffee. I make it in a springform pan, as authentic
panettone pans are difficult to locate. If you have one, use my recipe in a well-buttered mold, but
experiment with the baking time--it may take longer.

•  Prepare the dried fruit (allow 8 hours or overnight): Combine the raisins and figs in a bowl. Heat the
cognac in a small saucepan until just warm, thenpour over raisin mixture. Set aside at least 8 hours or
over night. Stir occasionally if possible.

•  Make and ferment the poolish (allow 1 hour):  Combine the milk and yeast in a medium bowl. Stir with
a wooden spoon until yeast dissolves. Add the flour and stir until the mixture is the consistency of a
batter, about 100 strokes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Cover with  a clean
damp towel or plastic wrap, and put in a moderately warm (74º-80ºF) draft-free place until puffy and

•  Mix and knead the final dough (20 minutes): Measure the ingredients. Combine the butter and sugar
in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a paddle blade. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about
1 1/2 minutes. Using the tip of a small sharp knife, scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean. Discard the
pod. Add the poolish, eggs and egg yolks, salt and vanilla beans; beat on medium speed 5 minutes,
then gradually add 1 c. of the flour. Fit the mixer with the dough hook. Add 2 1/2 c. of the remaining
flour and continue beating at medium speed for 10 minutes. Drain the fruit well, if necessary, and add,
beating 2 minutes more. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, until smooth and slightly
sticky, adding more flour if necessary, about 3 minutes.

•  Ferment the dough (about 2 1/2 hours): Shape the dough into a ball and place smooth side down in a
well-buttered 6-qt. bowl. Turn the dough to coat the top with butter. Take the dough's temperature: the
ideal is 78º F. Cover with a clean damp towel or plastic wrap and place in a moderately warm
(74º-80º F) draft-free place until doubled in volume.

If the dough temperature is higher than 78 degrees F,   put it in a cooler than  78º F place like
the refrigerator,   until the dough cools to 78º F.  If it is lower than 78oF, put it in a warmer than
78º F place until the dough warms to 78º F. The point is to try to keep the dough at 78º F
during itS fermentation.  If you do have to move the dough, be gentle and don't jostle it, or the dough
may deflate.   Divide the dough and shape into a loaf (about 10 minutes):  Deflate the dough by pushing
down in the center and pulling up on the sides.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface
and knead briefly. Shape into a log.

•   Proof the loaf (2-3 hours): Butter a 10-inch springform pan or panettone pan. Press the loaf into the
prepared pan. Cover with a clean damp towel or plastic wrap and place in a moderately warm (74-80ºF)
draft-free place until the dough rises nearly to the rim of the pan.

•   Bake the loaf (45 minutes): Forty-five minutes to 1 hour before baking,  preheat the oven and
homemade hearth or baking stone on the center rack of the oven to 400º F. Bake 20 minutes.
Cover the top loosely with foil and continue baking until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick
inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and brush the top with the
melted butter. Cool on a wire rack 20 minutes. Unmold and cool completely before serving. 

Makes 1 round 10-inch loaf.

Although the recipe seems almost daunting,  It is really quite simple and worth the effort.  Of course the 
Italians do this for the Holidays and not as a steady,  everyday treat.

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