November 4, 2011
Well it might only be November, but Christmas comes early to my house!
Christmas carols are on a 5 hour repeat on the stereo, decorations are coming out of storage, and baking is starting now to stock the pantry and get a head start before the hot weather hits.
I've also progressed to a half-cast on my left arm, allowing no thumb movement, and might-just might, get in for surgery on my right arm before Christmas, so I thought I'd better get going while I can.
Panettone is a sweet fat cylinder of yumminess, made with a bread style dough with raisins and orange peel for flavouring. Originally from Italy, they're a traditional Christmas bread and seem to pop up in Deli's everywhere this time of year. The ones I've dealt with in the past, seem very dry and are usually imported, so I guess they come with lots of Frequent Flyer points and are a bit jet-lagged by the time they get to me.
I'm veering from tradition a bit today by using some gorgeous glace oranges I bought on special, along with honey, saffron, and a splash of Cointreau just because I feel like it and the flavours go so well together.
This recipe can be frozen for 2 months, so making it now is just right for Christmas- if I can stop nibbling it that is :)
You will need to allow a couple of hours for this recipe, there's a couple of periods required for the yeast to work. Fill in this time usefully with wrapping presents, humming carols, or decking the halls.
2 eggs+ 1 yolk
1 tsp Cointreau/vanilla
500g gluten free flour
14g dried yeast (2 foil packets)
100g castor sugar
1 tab honey
250-350 ml warmed lactose free milk
200g softened butter
100g glace oranges/ mixed peel
Pinch of saffron
Soak the saffron in about a teaspoon of warm water for a few minutes to release it's colour and flavour.
Mix the flour, sugar and yeast into a large bowl.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, Cointreau, honey and saffron, then stir into the flour mixture. A nice moist soft dough is what you want here so add the milk carefully as gfree flours can really be tricky with the way they absorb liquid.
Cover the bowl loosely, and place in a warm spot for an hour for the yeast to prove. the mixture should pretty much double in size.
Once ready, punch the dough down and add in the butter and fruit.
Knead them in lightly, trying not to use much extra flour. I used my mixer and dough hooks to get a lovely, silky smooth dough, very easy!
Split the dough between 10 large muffin tins. I used cylinders to maintain the traditional shape, but you can use Texas muffin tins instead. I left some plain - but well greased, and lined the others with muffin papers just so I could see which I preferred when it comes to gift making.
Pop them back in a warm place for another 1/2 hour to rise again.
Bake at about 190*c for 20-25mins until a lovely golden colour.
While they're still hot from the oven, brush the tops with a bit of extra Cointreau and sprinkle on some castor sugar.
Now I do have to say... these were the best Panettone I've ever had! Rich and buttery, citrusy and sweet with just a lovely hint of honey in the background, fantastic! I guess eating one fresh from the oven is a far cry from the cardboard boxed imported models you get at the supermarket, with a whole less food miles too. If you like panettone, you just have to give these a try.
If you can refrain from eating these little lovelies straight away, wrap them well individually in cling wrap and freeze them until Christmas. Yummm...
So Dear Readers,
has Christmas started at your home yet?