Merry Christmas Eve! This festive pillowy loaf is the perfect baking challenge for the long weekend. # 203: Chocolate Pistachio & Cranberry Panettone
We’re entering the glorious 3-year period where Christmas falls on a weekend – yay! I know we’re in a global pandemic and things couldn’t get much worse, but I’m trying to find silver linings wherever possible. Christmas kicking off a long weekend is a pretty great one, I gotta say.
Ah, panettone. Is it a cake? Bread? Fruitcake that drank from the “drink me” bottle in Alice’s wonderland? I’ve eaten it nearly every year of my life and I’m still not sure.
Google knows everything luckily, so now I know that it’s technically a yeasted cake that originates from Italy, more specifically, Milan. The classic version has candied fruit and raisins (very fruitcake-y, if you ask me…) and has to be cooled upside down so you can maintain the lofty heights it reached in the oven.
They seem to pop up everywhere when December rolls around. Have you seen the tiny ones they have a Trader Joe’s? So cute! And then of course, there’s the other end of the spectrum: this crazy expensive panetonne is taking over the internet. I’m sure it’s fabulous, but I just can’t bring myself to spend $70 on a loaf cake.
Being me, I had to include chocolate somehow! The recipe I found called for white chocolate, but that’s just silly. The bitterness is half the fun of chocolate, why would you ever get rid of it?
See? A dough hook is involved. The scale is tipping more towards bread.
Delicious, enriched bread, like a brioche. Which is pretty cake-like. Oy. Who cares, it’s all yummy!
Peep the craisins – in an homage to the panettone in the giant red boxes that my mom would get as a hostess gift at her annual Christmas open house.
Plus, it’s fun to have both red and green in the dough. I’m definitely wearing Santa socks and a Christmas sweater as I write this – the more the merrier!
The pastry scraper coming in clutch with this super soft dough. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle flour heavily – think snowstorm levels.
It tripled during it’s nap (hand for scale)! This giant metal bowl is quickly becoming one of my favorite kitchen items. It’s both my “proofing drawer” and the best popcorn bowl out there!
Can you see the tiny flecks of orange zest? Citrus freckles are the best kind of freckles.
Big ball-o-dough. This recipe didn’t call for multi-day rises like a lot of the recipes I found, but it does take over 8 hours including the rising time. Can’t rush dough art.
The panettone paper baking molds were sold out everywhere in the Bay Area! Apparently I’m not the only home baker who decided this was the year to dive into panettone. I’m trying my best to avoid Amazon whenever I can, so I ended up ordering them from BakeDeco in New York. I’m now the proud owner of 7 extra molds though, so I’m accepting any and all ideas on what else I could bake in them.
Did you know you can buy panettone cooling racks? Sigh. Let me introduce you to my very hack-y wooden skewer version*. It was free!
*Several wooden skewers were harmed in the making of this rack.
Ta-daa! Very proud of this bready cupola.
The top and bottom got a little extra toasty because I forgot to put a little foil hat on it 2/3 of the way through the baking time. It’s such a tall monstrosity of a loaf that the middle acts like it’s got built-in air-conditioning and cooks way slower than the outer shell. Since you can get away with adding lots of melted butter when you serve it, I leaned more towards the over-baked side of the scale rather than risk a raw middle.