Thursday, December 27, 2012

December 2012 Daring Bakers Challenge: Panettone

Ever since I began doing the Daring Bakers challenges (about 1 1/2 years ago), I've experimented with a lot of new recipes. One thing I've really enjoyed is the fact that because of the monthly challenges, I've been exposed to recipes from other cultures. This month's baking challenge was to make panettone, which is a traditional Italian Christmas bread that is sweet and filled with lots of fruity goodness. Think if it as if a brioche and a fruite cake had a baby...

Traditionally, it has raisins, candied orange peel, and candied lemon peel. Well, I'm not a fan of raisins and simply didn't have time to candy the peels (funny how time seems to fly by a bit faster as Christmas approaches ... kudos to everyone who did have the time to complete that step). I substituted dried cranberries for the raisins and simply omitted the candied peels. I am so glad I took this approach. The bread was quite sweet and the candied peels might have put it over the edge for my tastebuds. I did include the orange and lemon extracts that the recipe called for, so we still had the flavors of the citrus, but not the extra sweetness.

Panetonne bakes in these really neat paper forms. I had to order them online and am really glad to have them.They're sort of like an oversized cupcake cup (perhaps 6" in diameter) and made out of a waxy brown paper. They worked beautifully for this project.

Everyone who tried the bread gave it a big thumbs up and I have a feeling it'll make a repeat appearance next Christmas ... if not before! I bet it would make a great French toast base!

Panettone cooling in its paper form

Anyone up for a slice?
The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread!

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