I spent the day yesterday moving domesticgothess.com from wordpress.com to self hosted wordpress.org. I say I moved it…but really I spent the day watching over his shoulder as my fiance did it for me and asking stupid questions…It took a while, there were a few confusing moments and the site had a bit of downtime but we (he) got there eventually. I wanted to move to self hosted so I could use plugins and customise the site a little more so I will be having a play around and making a few changes over the coming weeks.
I also finally felt in the mood to do some Christmas baking yesterday, I haven’t felt remotely christmassy yet this year and haven’t even done any Christmas present shopping – I usually do it all in November. The baking didn’t make me feel any more christmassy, but I do love Christmas food and have been thoroughly enjoying the results nonetheless. My absolute favourite Christmas baked goods have got to be Christmas breads (how many times can I cram the word “Christmas” into a sentence…) my favourite being marzipan stollen (for which there will be a recipe next week) closely followed by panettone. I came across the idea of baking mini panettone in food tins last Christmas but didn’t get round to making any so thought it was high time I did this year. Panettone is a traditional Italian Christmas bread shaped in a tall cylinder and flavoured with candied peel and orange and lemon zest; but I couldn’t resist tweaking the original a little to include dried cranberries and crystallised ginger, two of my favourite Christmas flavours.
Empty 220g size tins are just the right size to make individual panettone in and I’ve been collecting half-size baked bean tins for a couple of months now for this very purpose. The recipe will make six panettone if you are using these tins or you can use a muffin tray lined with large muffin cases and make about eight. You can make large muffin cases (like the ones pictured) by cutting an approx 17cm square of greaseproof paper and making a pleat in the centre between each of the four corners; you can also buy extra large muffin cases and mini panettone cases.
This recipe is much simpler than a standard bread dough recipe as there is no kneading involved, although it does need three separate rises. You start by mixing the yeast with some of the flour and sugar and some warm water and leaving it until it becomes frothy and has risen a little; then beat all the other ingredients together and mix them into the yeast with the rest of the flour, it will have the consistency of a thick batter. It then needs to rise until it has doubled in size, give it a stir to knock the air out and divide it between the tins, leave to rise again until it has risen to the top of the tins then bake for half an hour. Easy!
The panettone turned out beautifully light, soft and moist with a delicious citrus flavour and a little bit of warmth and spice from the ginger and tang from the cranberries; they are so much nicer than the shop bought versions which tend to be on the dry side. They are not overly sweet so make a delicious breakfast or snack with a cup of coffee and will keep for up to a week in an airtight container; they also look really cute in their tins wrapped with some ribbon and would make a great gift, maybe as part of a hamper of homemade goodies.
(Please note: although I have provided a conversion from grams to US cup measurements I cannot guarantee the accuracy as I do not bake using cups, I thoroughly recommend investing in a digital metric scale, it is far more accurate.)
- 50g (1 + 3/4 oz) sultanas
- 50g (1 + 3/4 oz) dried cranberries
- 7g (2 tsp) instant yeast
- 250g (2 cups + 2 tbsp) strong white bread flour
- 75g (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) caster (superfine) sugar
- 75g (1/3 cup) soft unsalted butter
- 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- finely grated zest of 1 orange
- finely grated zest of one lemon
- 2 tsp runny honey
- 50g (1 + 3/4 oz) candied mixed peel
- 50g (1 + 3/4 oz) crystallised ginger, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Icing (powdered) sugar for dusting
You will need 6 x 220g (8 oz) size clean, empty food tins (the half-size baked bean tins are perfect)
Put the sultanas and dried cranberries in a small bowl and cover with boiling water, set aside to soak until cold then drain well and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Put the yeast in a large bowl and mix in 115g (1 cup) of the flour, 15g (1 tbsp) of the sugar and 115ml (1/2 cup) lukewarm water to make a smooth batter. Cover with clingfilm and set aside for half an hour or so until foamy.
Beat the butter with the remaining 60g (1/3 cup) of the sugar until smooth and creamy then beat in the eggs and extra yolks, the vanilla, honey, orange and lemon zest, peel, ginger, salt, sultanas and cranberries.
Add to the yeast mixture and beat well to combine then mix in the remaining 135g (1 cup + 2tbsp) flour, it will be more of a batter consistency than a dough.
Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. (On cold days I heat the oven up to a low temperature then switch it off, open the door for a couple of seconds to allow some of the heat to dissipate, place the bowl of dough inside and close the door).
While the dough is rising, line the tins with greaseproof paper, large muffin cases or mini panettone liners. Stir the risen dough to knock out any air, then divide it between the tins. Loosly cover with clingfilm or a clean plastic bag and leave in a warm place until the dough has risen to the top of the tins, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Bake for 30 minutes (or 25 if you are making eight smaller panettone), until risen and golden, you may need to cover the tops with tin foil after about 15 minutes to prevent them from burning. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely, dust with icing sugar to serve.
(Recipe adapted from Leiths Baking Bible by Susan Spaull and Fiona Burell)