Panettone is Italy's Christmas cake par excellence. Its origins are in Milan where at one time it was eaten all year round, but it enriches the festive season in every region of Italy - from north to south. No home in Italy is without Panettone - it is taken and received as a gift and eaten by all! 'Dunked' in café for breakfast, the last small slice sweetens after dinner - but basically any time of day and every occasion it is right to gulp some down.

It was with great surprise that I received an email from Fattoria La Vialla this week, sending me their exclusive recipe for La Vialla's Panettone. (See http://therealfoodinspector.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/fattoria-la-vialla-christmas-catalogue.html ).
It is a little different from the traditional one - soft and full of flavour, it is enriched with raisins and orange zest, although amongst its ingredients you will not find butter but only extra virgin olive oil. The recipe does not seem difficult, just needs some of mine and your time. I'm up for it, are you?

Ingredients: (for one 750g cake in a 22cm diameter cake tin)
Mother Dough
30g fruit apples, grapes or apricots depending on availability
60g plain strong flour
30ml slightly sparkling water
First Dough
250g whole wheat flour
75ml extra virgin olive oil
50g brown sugar
25g agave syrup
25g mother dough
3 egg yolks
pinch of salt
Second Dough
60g whole wheat flour
100g extra virgin oil
40g brown sugar
50g agave syrup
5 egg yolks
125g raisins - soaked in warm water for at least 30 minutes and then dried off
1.5 oranges - only the grated zest
1.5g malt flour
small amount of vanilla pod seeds

  • Mother Dough (or natural yeast)
  • Grate the apple and mash the other fruit and mix together in a bowl with the other Mother Dough ingredients until the mix is uniform.
  • Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 48 hours in a warm and relatively damp place - use the oven with the light on and include a bowl of water for slow but constant evaporation. Alternatively try the airing cupboard with a small bowl of water near by.
  • After 48 hours the dough should have tripled in size and you should 'refresh' it with a drop of sparkling water.
  • Leave it to rest for a further 4 hours in a warm place.
  • Finally squeeze the dough, which is now ready to prepare the Panettone. 
  • First Dough Mixture
  • Mix the mother dough, the flour and oil for 15 minutes , gradually adding them a little at a time, add the egg yolks one at a time, the sugar and syrup carefully and gradually. Continue until the mixture takes on a compact and elastic consistency - this will take about 25 minutes.
  • Leave the mixture to rise in a warm oven at 25'C for 6  hours and until it has tripled in size.
  • Second Dough Mixture
  • To the first dough mixture gradually add the oil and continue to knead.
  • Add the egg yolks, one by one, the syrup, the raisins, the grated orange zest, the malt flour, vanilla seeds and continue to knead the dough until it is smooth, soft and elastic for about 25 minutes.
  • Leave it to rise for a further 6 hours in a warm oven at 25'C
  • Once risen, shape the Panettone and put the dough in the 750g cake tin, lined with baking paper. Leave it for one hour to settle and score a cross on top.
  • Put in the oven at 180'C for about 45 to 50 minutes. If it gets too brown then lower the heat but do not open the oven.
  • Once cooked it should rest for a couple of hours, upside down, in order to dry out.
  • When it has dried out it is ready to eat.   
Thank you and Happy Christmas to all my friends at Fattoria La Vialla in Italy


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