Many know that it is the typical Italian Christmas dessert, not everyone knows that it originated in Milan.
The story goes back to Toni, a Milanese chef who lived in the times of Ludovico Sforza and Leonardo Da Vinci. For a mistake Toni, at the end of a Christmas dinner of his lord Ludovico Sforza, brought to the table a dessert only made with flour, butter, eggs, candied fruit and raisins, prepared the day before by a kitchen boy. The dessert was very successful among the guests. Toni was asked by these to give a name to the dessert. He replied in Milanese dialect, «’l pan del Toni» literally: “the bread of Toni” ‘which through the time became “Panettone”.
PANETTONE ALLA MILANESE classic Italian Christmas recipe (for 3 panettone cakes)
- all-purpose flour,
- 2.8 pound - butter,
- 14.1 oz. - sugar,
- 10.5 oz. - sourdough bread,
- 8.8 oz. - sultana raisins,
- 7.05 oz. - candied orange,
- 1.7 oz. - candied cedar,
- 1.07 oz. - eggs,
- 15 - salt, to taste
To begin, wrap the sourdough bread in a towel lightly dusted with flour and set it aside in a warm place for at least 2 hours, allowing the dough to rise to twice its original volume.
Crumble the sourdough and dissolve it in a small amount of tepid water.
Pour 5.2 oz of flour onto a pastry board. Make a well with the flour and add the dissolved sourdough in the middle. Slowing begin mixing the ingredients together, kneading the dough by hand.
Work the dough into a ball, and place in a lightly sprinkled mixing bowl. Let it stand for approximately 3 hours.
In order to obtain perfectly leavened dough, heat the oven to 302 F, switch it off, and place the mixing bowl with the dough on the opened door. Once the dough has fully risen, place the dough on a pastry board and gradually mix in 4.5 oz of flour and some warm water, kneading the dough by hand until smooth. Allow the ball of dough to stand for approximately 2 hours, until it doubles in volume.
In the meantime, cut the candied cedar and orange pieces into small cubes and soak the sultana raisins in warm water.
In a saucepan, add the sugar in an inch of water. Heat and stir until completely dissolved. Once the syrup is lukewarm, remove from direct heat and place the saucepan on warm water bath (Bain-Marie).
Add 3 eggs and 12 yolks, and lightly cook the mixture. In a separate saucepan, melt 10.5 oz of butter on low heat, making sure that the butter does not burn.
Mix 2.2 pounds of flour with 2 tablespoons of salt and place on a pastry board, making a well in the middle. Gradually incorporate the leavened dough, the melted butter, and the sugar and egg mixture.
Knead the dough by hand for 20 minutes, until the dough is tough enough that it can be beat onto the board. This procedure ensures smooth, elastic and homogeneous dough.
Drain the raising and dry in a clean kitchen towel. Add the candied cedar and orange bits, as well as the raisins, into the dough, kneading the dough for 2-3 minutes until well combined.
Divide the dough into 3 equal parts, rolling each third into a ball. Place the ball of Panettone onto a piece of parchment paper, buttered and dusted with flour.
Using a strip of thin cardboard, surround each Panettone with the parchment paper, creating a mould. Let the Panettone leaven in a warm place for at least 6 hours, until it has doubled in volume. After 6 hours, let the Panettone rest in a cool place for 10 minutes.
Place the Panettone on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper, and score the top of the dough with a cross.
Cook at 390 F for 5 minutes, then place the remaining butter slices on the score lines. Leave in the oven for 1 hour – 1 1/4 hour, slowly diminishing the temperature as the Panettoni begin to darken.