"The baking of panettone dates back to the Middle Ages, but its origin is the stuff of legend. The name is believed to be a shortened form of pane di Tonio (Tonio’s bread), from the story of a poor Milanese baker who invented the loaf as a dowry for his daughter after she fell in love with a nobleman. Others suggest Tonio worked for a court chef – who, with no dessert to offer at Christmas, devised a bake with all the ingredients he had available."
75ml Dark Rum
550 - 620g Strong White Bread Flour
65g Caster Sugar
1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Nutmeg
2.5ml (1/2 tsp) vanilla essence
10.5g Fast Action Dried Yeast
Zest 1 Lemon
Zest 1 Orange
150g Candied Orange and Lemon Peel, chopped
For the Topping
30g blanched, chopped Almonds
1tbsp Caster Sugar
1tbsp Icing Sugar
Grease a 17cm round spring release Panettone or cake tin and line the base and sides with a sheet of baking paper that sits 5 inches above the rim.
Place the rum, raisins and sultanas in a bowl and leave for 2-3 hours.
Sift the flour into a mixer with a bread hook and add the butter and salt. Mix on a medium speed for 2 minutes until combined. Add the sugar, nutmeg, vanilla, yeast, orange and lemon zest, eggs and milk and blend on a fast speed for 2 minutes until a soft dough has formed. Knead in the bowl for a further 2 minutes. Remove the bowl and cover with clingflim and leave for 2-3 hours until the dough has doubled in size.
Replace the bowl onto the mixer a kneed on a fast speed for 2 minutes, to knock the dough back down. Add the sultans and raisins and kneed for a further 2 minutes. Lightly flour a cold surface and kneed with your hands for 2-3 minutes to make sure all of the fruit is combined with the dough. Work the dough into a ball and place into the cake tin. Lightly cover with cligflim and leave to rise for a further 1 hour until the dough has risen just above the tin.
In a bowl combine the almonds, icing sugar, egg whites and caster sugar. Using a pastry brush, gently brush over the top of the risen dough. Bake in a 200ºc oven for 15 minutes before turning down the temperature to 180ºc and baking for a further 40 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling completely.
To serve, wrap in parchment or baking paper for decoration and generously top with icing sugar.
Recipe created for TUI, Great British Bake Off Feature, Spring 2016