While this recipe would’ve come in handy before Christmas, I hope you’ll allow me this grace period, as my brain’s been off on holiday since December 20th and doesn’t feel like exerting itself until after the new year. Preferably January 6th. By then, I’ll have accepted that another year has come and gone, and hopefully prepared myself for the fact that… 2014′s GOING TO BE THE BEST YEAR EVER!
Or not. In truth, that kind of mindless optimism is a huge turn off to me. It’s too peppy, too simplistic. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t feel like every single year of my life has to improve upon the last? I’m not wishing horrible things to happen to myself obviously, but I’m also not expecting to figure everything out in the span of a year, for the figurative pieces to fall into place. I want to have a little faith that whatever grand plan is in place for me will reveal itself through small nudges and gentle prods, even if they come in the form of hardships and disappointments.
In other words, I’m ready for you 2014.
Apparently, this recipe is THE recipe, at least according to the discerning folks (reviewers) at Epicurious.com who swear by this version. It’s by Peter Lahey, therefore no kneading required. On the other hand, it takes some pretty careful planning to see it through. Here’s my suggested timeline: in the morning on a day before a free day (so like a Friday or Saturday), prep the raisins. That evening, around 8 or 9 say, get the dough ready for its first rise. The next AM, prep the dough for the second rise. The panettone should be ready by that evening. By the way, the glaze is sticky and delicious and I highly recommend you give it a try. If you decide not to, snip a little X on top of each roll and place a nubbin of cold butter in the fold before placing them in the oven. This will prevent a skin from forming, which would inhibit its rise.
1 cup raisins
2 Tbsp light rum (I used Grand Marnier)
2 Tbsp hot water plus 2/3 cup tepid water, divided
3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 tsp grated lemon zest
3 large eggs, at room temperature for 30 minutes
1 Tbsp mild honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
10 1/2 Tbsp butter, softened and cut into 1 Tbsp pieces, plus 1 Tbsp melted butter
2/3 cup candied citron, chopped into small pieces
For the glaze:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp almond meal
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp corn starch
3/4 tsp cocoa powder
1 egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Slivered almonds for sprinkling on top (I used pumpkin seeds)
Soak raisins in rum and 2 Tbsp hot water at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until raisins are plump and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 8 hours.
Mix flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and lemon zest on low speed in a stand mixer until combined. In a small bowl, whisk together tepid water (2/3 cup), eggs, honey, and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Increase speed to medium-low and mix to combine. Add softened butter one Tbsp at a time, waiting for each piece to be thoroughly mixed before adding the next. Increase speed to medium-high and mix until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Drain liquid from raisins and stir in candied citron and 1 Tbsp melted butter into the same bowl. Stir into dough with a wooden spoon. Transfer dough to a large bowl (I kept mine in the stand mixer bowl), cover with a kitchen towel, and place in a cool oven to rise until almost tripled in size, 12 to 15 hours.
Sprinkle dough lightly with flour and scrape onto a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into 10 equal pieces (I used my scale to ensure they all weighed about the same) and with each one, gently fold edges into center and place, seam side down, in a panettone mold. Cover with a towel and let rise at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours, until the dough has risen to the top of the mold.
Shortly before the dough is ready, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the glaze by combining all the ingredients except for the slivered almonds. When the panettone is ready, brush the glaze on tops of all the panettone, and sprinkle almonds on top. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out moist but not wet.
As soon as the panettone is cool enough to handle, pierce a wooden skewer all the way through each (I was able to pierce 2 per skewer) and hang the panettone upside down (I perched the skewers on a chair and a table) to let cool completely, 4 hours to overnight. This step is important as the panettone finishes up its cooking while cooling. It’ll become dense if you let it cool upright.