Italian Panettone Recipe

If you are looking for a new recipe to step up your dessert game, then we have the perfect one for you! This Italian panettone recipe is impressive for so many reasons, but we love that it contains dried fruit, making it unique and flavorful. Recipe developer Stephanie Rapone recreated this Italian classic that looks and tastes amazing. "It's a traditional dessert to enjoy around Christmas time," Rapone shares. "The texture is between a cake and a bread, and is incredibly light. It usually has dried or candied fruits that have been soaked in liqueur and has a very tall shape with a puffy top." 

There is plenty to love about this tasty treat, but Rapone describes her favorite part the best. "Even though it takes a while to rise, this recipe has been the most reliable yeast-dough dessert recipe I've ever made," she raves. "I also appreciate that it isn't overly sweet. It's simple and really worth the effort to make at home." If you're looking for a traditional, tasty, and impressive dessert to bring to your holiday party, then this Italian panettone has you covered!

Gather the ingredients to make Italian panettone

Now, it's time to get things started. First, you will need to take a trip to the store and gather all of the ingredients necessary to make this dish. Start with a few candied orange peels, candied cherries, dried currants, and golden raisins. You will also need to grab an orange liqueur like Grand Marnier. Next, pick up some instant yeast, whole milk, and granulated sugar.

In addition, be sure to get some bread, flour, and plain salt. Rounding out the bottom of the list, grab a few ounces of bread flour, plain salt, a few large eggs, unsalted butter, and slivered almonds. "The dried fruits and nuts can be swapped or omitted. Our favorite variation is to use 6 ounces candied cherries and 4 ounces dark chocolate chips," Rapone shares.

Let the butter sit and chop the fruit

The first step in this recipe process is to let the butter soften. Easy enough, right? You can either take it out of the fridge 2 hours before you begin, or if you'd prefer, you can also let it sit on your counter overnight. 

Next, grab a cutting board and a sharp knife, and cut the orange peel. Then, take out your cherries and cut them into quarters. In a large bowl, combine the orange peel, cherries, currants, and raisins. Next, add the orange liqueur and stir. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside for the time being. Let it sit at room temperature overnight.

Remove milk and add yeast and sugar

Remove two tablespoons of milk from the ¾ cups that this recipe calls for, and then put it in the fridge to use later. Then, microwave the remaining five ounces of milk for 20 seconds. Once the timer beeps, remove it from the microwave and check the temperature. You want it to be about 100 to 110 F, similar to coffee. If it needs to be hotter, you can continue heating in five to 10 second increments. Once the milk is hot enough, add the yeast and then stir in the sugar. Let is sit for five minutes.

Add flour and eggs to a bowl

So far, so good. Now, take out the bowl from your stand mixer and add the flour. Make sure that the mixer is fitted with a dough hook as well, as this is what you will use to stir the dough. Then, add the salt and stir briefly. The last thing you will need to do for the time being is to pour the yeast and milk mixture into the bowl. Mix on low speed until everything combines. Then, crack five eggs into the batter while the mixer is on low. Once you have added all the eggs, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and sticky.

Mix in the butter then transfer the dough to a greased bowl

Take out the softened butter and cut up 18 tablespoons into bite-sized pieces. Turn the mixer to medium-high and add the butter in just a few chunks at a time. Once you have added all of the butter, continue mixing for five more minutes, or until the dough turns glossy, smooth, and very soft.

Now that your dough is good to do, we can continue to move forward. Grab a large glass bowl and grease it with one tablespoon of butter. Then, gently let the dough slide out of the mixing bowl and into the greased glass bowl. Scrape out any dough that stays in the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula and transfer it into the greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. Let the bread rise in the refrigerator for 15 to 18 hours. 

Strain the fruit and roll the dough

Grab a mesh strainer and strain your fruits. Then, sprinkle half of the fruit evenly on the dough. Once you do that, lightly dust your workspace with flour. Take out the dough and dump it out onto the workspace. Then, press it into a rectangle, so it's about 9x13-inches. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough but just be careful not to press down too hard.

Fold the dough over and lightly roll it to distribute the fruit evenly. Press it into a rectangle again and sprinkle the remaining fruit and half of the almonds evenly. Then, fold together and roll to distribute evenly. Then, form the dough into a ball.

Grease the mold

Using the last tablespoon of butter, grease the panettone paper mold or a panettone baking dish. "Panettone molds can vary widely in size. If you have a 7" diameter pan/mold, this dough will make one loaf. If you have smaller ones (the ones I purchased were 5" in diameter), this dough will make two cakes. You want to make sure when you put the ball in the mold it's about 2"-3" from the top rim of the mold," Rapone says. "If you don't have or want to buy a panettone mold, cut parchment paper 5" wide. Spray a cake pan (7" diameter is ideal) with non-stick spray. Cut a circle of parchment for the bottom, then line the sides with the parchment paper extending above the edges of the pan to create a "fake" high-sided mold."

Add the dough to the pan

Now, drop the dough in the middle of the dish and stud the remaining almonds on top. "You're actually using the almonds to "stud" the cake," Rapone explains. "Just stick them in the top so it looks pretty and some of them get toasty." Then, set the container in a warm spot and let it rise for one to two hours, or until the dough rises about the rim of the dish. Rapone says you should go by the size of the rise, not the time, as it may take a little longer. Be sure the spot where your dough sits is at least 75 F.

Make the egg wash and bake the panettone

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In the meantime, make an egg wash by mixing the remaining egg with the reserved two tablespoons of milk, then brush it over the top of the cake. Now, pop the cake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes. Then, lower the oven temperature to 300 F and then cook for another 45 to 55 minutes. "If you make smaller cakes, bake at 350 for 20 min, then reduce and bake for 30 min. Check the doneness with a thermometer and continue to bake until it reaches 190-200F," Rapone says.

Cool and enjoy

Take a skewer and poke it through the middle of the cake. Then, turn the cake upside down and let it rest over two glasses or jars. Let the cake cool upside down for at least 2 hours. Then, slice and serve as you wish. Rapone recommends serving the cake with a hot drink or a dessert wine. "If you like a little sweetness, use a mesh sieve to dust with some confectioners sugar," Rapone suggests. "This would also be delicious if you made thick slices out of it and made it into french toast."

Anything left over? "Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic wrap and then put in a zip-top bag or wrap in foil. It should last at room temperature for a week, or in the freezer for up to three months," Rapone says. We hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as we do! 

Italian Panettone Recipe
4.9 from 26 ratings
Impress your party guests this holiday season with this Italian panettone recipe — the sweet, fruity bread is an absolute holiday classic!
Prep Time
30
minutes
Cook Time
50
minutes
Servings
12
Servings
panettone on a plate
Total time: 80 minutes
Ingredients
  • 20 tablespoons (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 ounces candied orange peel
  • 2 ounces candied cherries
  • 2 ounces dried currants
  • 2 ounces golden raisins
  • ½ cup orange liqueur
  • ¾ cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 ½ tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1 ¾ ounces granulated sugar
  • 18 ounces bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 ½ ounces blanched almonds, slivered
Directions
  1. At least 2 hours before, or overnight, remove the butter from the fridge so it can fully come to room temperature.
  2. Chop the orange peel, then cut the cherries into quarters. Stir the orange peel, cherries, currants, and raisins in a bowl. Add the orange liqueur and stir. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature overnight.
  3. Remove 2 tablespoons of milk from the ¾ cups and put in the fridge for later. Microwave the remaining 5 ounces of milk for 20 seconds. Check the temperature (you want it to be about 100 to 110 F). If needed, continue to heat in 5 to 10 second increments until it reaches the desired temperature. Add the yeast and stir in the sugar, then let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the flour to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and stir briefly. Pour the yeast and milk mixture into the bowl. Mix on low speed until combined.
  5. Crack 5 of the eggs. Turn the mixer on low and add the eggs. Once they are all added, increase the speed to medium and mix until smooth and sticky.
  6. Cut 18 tablespoons of the softened butter into bite-sized pieces. Turn the mixer to medium-high and add the butter a few chunks at a time. After it is all added, continue to mix for 5 more minutes, or until the dough is glossy, smooth, and very soft. The look and texture is between that of a cake batter and a typical bread dough.
  7. Grease a large glass bowl with 1 tablespoon of butter. Gently let the dough slide out of the mixing bowl into the greased glass bowl. Scrape out any dough that stays in the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula into the glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Let it rise in the fridge for 15 to 18 hours.
  8. Strain the fruits with a mesh strainer. Sprinkle half of the fruit evenly onto the dough rectangle.
  9. Lightly dust your work surface with bread flour. Dump the panettone out onto the work surface and press into a rectangle, about 9x13-inches. I use a rolling pin, but you want to be careful not to press down too hard.
  10. Fold the dough over and lightly roll the dough to evenly distribute the fruit. Press it into a rectangle again and sprinkle the remaining fruit and half the almonds evenly, then fold together and roll to evenly distribute.
  11. Form the dough into a roughly shaped ball.
  12. Using the last tablespoon of butter, grease a panettone paper mold or panettone baking dish.
  13. Drop the dough into the middle. Stud the top with the remaining almonds. Place in a warm place to rise for 1 to 2 hours, until the dough has risen above the rim of the mold or dish.
  14. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  15. Make an egg wash by whisking the remaining egg with the reserved 2 tablespoons of milk, then brush the wash over the top of the cake.
  16. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 min. Lower oven temperature to 300 F and continue to cook for 45 to 55 minutes. You want the internal temperature to reach 190 to 200 F when checked with a probe thermometer.
  17. Use a skewer through the middle and turn the panettone upside and rest over two glasses or jars. Let it cool upside down for at least 2 hours.
  18. Slice and enjoy the panettone with your favorite hot drink or dessert wine.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 500
Total Fat 24.8 g
Saturated Fat 13.5 g
Trans Fat 0.8 g
Cholesterol 145.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 55.2 g
Dietary Fiber 2.5 g
Total Sugars 21.3 g
Sodium 247.9 mg
Protein 10.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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