While it is important for me to bake my mother’s traditional English Christmas recipes during the festive season, Christmas without at least one panettone would feel very odd indeed. Italians will prefer ‘pandoro’ (a traditional Italian sweet yeast bread) or panettone at Christmas time. I am definitely a fan of panettone, and for me it has to be filled with ‘canditi’ (mixed candied peel) and sultanas. There is no greater disappointment for me than to cut into a panettone and find only a couple of measly sultanas and one tiny piece of candied peel!
Make these mini versions to enjoy at home, or to gift to friends and family. Wrapped in ribbon and packaged in a transparent box, I can assure you it will be the most appreciated of gifts received. I’ve added my little koala Christmas decoration to my photo shoot to have a hint of Australia present during my Italian Christmas.
- 14g brewer’s yeast
- 330ml lukewarm water
- 60g caster sugar
- 60g brown sugar (firmly packed)
- 110g mixed candied citrus peels, chopped
- finely grated zest of 2 oranges
- 3 eggs
- 700g flour ’00’
- 125ml rum
- 200g sultanas
- 175g soft butter, melted but not hot
- extra butter for baking
- Soak sultanas in rum for 20-30minutes and then drain sultanas.
- Combine yeast, water and sugar in a bowl and allow to stand for 10 minutes or until foamy.
- Use a dough hook in the bowl of an electric mixer, and add the flour and the eggs and mix to combine. Slowly add the yeast mixture until a dough forms. Add the butter slowly with mixer on and continue kneading until well combined. Dough should be smooth, soft and slightly sticky. If it appears too ‘wet’, add more flour. Set the dough aside in a bowl greased with olive oil, cover with a dry, clean tea towel and leave to prove for about 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.
- Knock back the dough, sprinkle over the sultanas, orange zest and mixed peel, then knead the fruit into the dough, on a lightly floured work surface.
- Knead for 5 to 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary, until the dough is soft and pliable but not sticky.
- Form the dough into a smooth ball, then divide into equal weight, about 130g each. Place each dough ball into a panettone paper casing. (Diameter 8cm). Cover loosely with cling film and leave to rise again for an hour in a warm place. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Place mini panettone in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 180°C and bake for another 10 minutes. Reduce the heat again to 160°C and bake for another 20 minutes or until the tops are well browned and a skewer inserted into the panettone comes out clean.
- Brush some melted butter after removing the panettone from the oven. Then, cool completely on a wire rack.