Mini panettoni

Mini panettoni

Panettone has become internationally renowned and it’s now a classic of many Christmas tables. And yet, I’ve learned to appreciate it quite recently, probably since I tried some homemade ones that made me change my mind. Let’s be honest and say that making Panettone is not easy, even more at home… the original recipe requires a few steps and more than one day of proofing, but the result is absolutely worth the effort. Having some sourdough starter, then, will make a big difference. In this recipe I’ve tried to make the whole process easier and more viable for a busy everyday life. In spite of that, be ready for a bit of work and a considerable waiting time between one proofing and the other.

The origin of this sweet bread is notorious and goes back to the 15th Century, when the first Panettone was served at one of Ludovico Il Moro’s banquets. It seems that because of a mistake, the chef was forced to serve as a dessert that one of the kitchen boys had baked for himself: and it was love at first bite! Legends apart, the true origin of Panettone should be probably searched in the habit to serve at Christmas time a reacher bread, stuffed with dried raisins, candied orange and lemon peel.

Due to the simple ingredients, Panettone was an affordable dessert for almost everyone and by the end of the Second World War it became popular all over the world, also thanks to the Italian immigration overseas, that helped to spread the tradition. Currently, all sort of variations are available on the market, but the traditional version remains, in my opinion, the best one.

This specific recipe calls for a Poolish (also called Biga), a sort of pre-ferment used to increase a dough’s extensibility. It is frequently used in Italian and French baking when sourdough starter is unavailable. The other ingredient to make ahead of time is the aroma, a mix of citrus zest, honey, vanilla seeds and liqueur, that give the characteristic flavour to this sweet bread. The dough that will result is pretty on the wet side and you might need the help of a spoon to divide the dough in the tin cavities. I’ve used a mini cakes tin like this, but you can also use big muffin cases or the proper individual panettone cases. This same recipe is enough for a single 1kg panettone.

 

Mini panettoni

December 18, 2018
: makes 10 individual panettoni
: Difficult

By:

Ingredients
  • For the poolish:
  • 80 gr Manitoba flour
  • 1 x 7gr sachet fast action dried yeast
  • 100 ml lukewarm water
  • For the panettone aroma:
  • zest of 1 orange
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 20 gr runny honey
  • 1 tbsp Marsala wine
  • 1 vanilla pod deseed
  • For the first dough:
  • 160 gr Manitoba flour + 100 gr di poolish
  • 180 ml di lukewarm water
  • 100 gr cake flour
  • 100 gr unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 100 gr caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • For the second dough:
  • 50 gr Manitoba flour+ 30 gr cake flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 50 gr caster sugar
  • 25 gr unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200 gr mixed dried fruits soaked with a couple of tbsp of rum
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 egg yolk with a tsp of icing sugar (alternatively some whole milk would work just fine)
Directions
  • Step 1 The night before prepare the aroma mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover with cling film and set aside to rest overnight at room temperature
  • Step 2 For the poolish, mix the flour and dry yeast in a medium bowl, pour the lukewarm water and briefly knead to form a ball. Cover and let to proof overnight
  • Step 3 The day after the poolish will be very wet and collapsed, that’s normal. Take 100 gr of the poolish and put in the bowl of a stand mixer with hook attachment. Switch on at the minimum speed and gradually pour the water, then add the two flours mixed
  • Step 4 When all the flour has been absorbed, start adding the egg yolks one at a time, allowing to completely absorb the first egg before adding the other one
  • Step 5 Add the sugar in three additions, then butter a little at a time. When all the ingredients are well blended, cover the bowl of the mixer with a towel or film and let to proof in a warm and dry place. If needed, wrap the bowl in a warm blanket (that’s the trick my grandma used in cold days
  • Step 6 -)).This will take something between 4 and 6 hours. The dough should be triple in size
  • Step 7 When ready, take the bowl and add the aroma prepared the day before. Start kneading at the minimum speed and add the two flours in two additions
  • Step 8 As for the first dough, gradually add the salt and sugar, then the egg yolks, the softened butter and finally the dried fruits. If the dough is too wet, add a little flour to have a workable consistency
  • Step 9 At this point, divide the batter into 10 cavities of a mini cakes tin, sides lined with parchment paper (if you want to be precise, weigh the dough and you should get around 100 gr for each cavity)
  • Step 10 Cover the tin with a clean cloth and set aside for another proofing. This time it will be much faster then the first proofing. When double in size, preheat the oven at 190ºC, then with a sharp knife or a blade mark a cross on top of each panettone: this will help a further rising in the oven
  • Step 11 Glaze with the yolk/sugar mix and bake for about 20 min or until the panettoni are golden brown

*Tips and notes*

  • Recipe adapted from here
  • The Manitoba is a special flour with a high gluten content, especially suitable for bread and other slow leavening products, as Pandoro or Panettone, indeed. It’s named after the Canadian region of Manitoba, where it was traditionally cultivated. It is available in most supermarkets and it’s often described as Canadian strong bread flour
  • If the dried fruits are too wet after soaking with rum, dry them a bit with a clean cloth and roll them in some flour. This will also prevent from sinking in the dough
  • If you like, you can decorate the panettone with some crystal sugar and laminated almonds. This is not the traditional way but I find it charming 😉

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