There is nothing quite as festive as a homemade Panettone baking in the oven! It fills the house with the sweet aromas of Marsala wine and fennel, and comes out with a beautiful glossy sheen. Studded with bright candied fruit, and crunchy pine nuts, Panettone Genovese makes a beautiful treat on Christmas morning. Slice it while it's still slightly warm from the oven and top with a pat of butter and your taste buds will scream, "It's Christmas!" Panettone can be served on its own, enjoyed with a cup of coffee (my personal favorite), or used to make a festive french toast. A few tips:Before baking, score with three slits in the shape of a triangle. This controls the direction in which it expands as it bakes, and also symbolizes the holy trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I like to bake with rapid rise yeast, but if you prefer to use regular yeast, let it dissolve in a bowl of warm milk until it becomes foamy (about 15 minutes) before adding it to the dough. I use an insulated baking sheet and find that the bottom browns more evenly as it cooks. Don't grease the cookie sheet before baking. It isn't necessary and may cause the bottom to burn before the panettone is cooked.
- 3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
- 1 packet rapid rise yeast
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tbspn Marsala wine
- 1 Meyer lemon, juice and zest
- 1 1/2 tbspn fennel seeds
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup dried currants
- 2/3 cups raisins, soaked in Marsala
- 1/3 cup candied fruit
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1 egg
- 1 tbspn water or milk
- Soak raisins in Marsala wine for 1/2 an hour, until soft.
- Whisk the softened butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer until the mixture is light and airy.
- Add the Marsala.
- Add the fennel seeds
- Add the egg and mix everything together until homogeneous.
- Add the lemon zest and juice.
- Swap your whisk attachment for the dough hook. Then, add the flour.
- Add the rapid rise yeast and mix until the dough is homogeneous. If it isn't coming together, add water, one tablespoon at a time (I added four).
- Strain the currants, raisins, and candied fruit and add them to the dough.
- Add the pine nuts.
- Mix gently on low speed until all the ingredients are well combined.
- Transfer to a much larger bowl that has been lightly greased with butter. Cover with a clean towel and set aside in a warm spot that is free of drafts. Let sit for 4 to 6 hours. It will rise slightly.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees one hour before baking. Place the dough on an insulated cookie sheet. Form it into a round loaf, about 6 inches in diameter. Use a knife to score three slits in the crown to form a triangle (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
- Make an egg wash, combining 1 egg with 1 tbspn water. Using a pastry brush, brush the top with a light, even coat.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden. Test with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, it's done. If panettone browns before it's done cooking, place a piece of foil on top to protect it.
- Cool before serving.