Holiday Panettone and Some Favorite Things

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Here we are all are after the holidays. Is there room for another fabulous holiday dessert? I say there is!! Panettone is eaten in Italy during the Christmas days. I have never made panettone, but I have sure had some wonderful Italian ones.

Fresh from the bakery or the store bought kind, it can be a challenge finding a really good panettone here in South Florida. I took matters into my own hands and  I attempted to make one!
I had my Christmas issue from Food Network Magazine (2009) pulled out and I was eyeing this gift idea of Panettone Mix in a jar. I had every desire to make it…but not the time. I finally made their Holiday Panettone to see if it is really a panettone. It was fabulous! It is not a true panettone, more like a panettone brioche: a briochattone! This briochattone is buttery and fluffy. The kids were drooling when I gave them some pieces hot out of the oven.

I made it like the recipe. Didn’t change the dough. I did change what was added into to it. Does it matter that it is not truly a panettone? Not really.

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This the photo from Food Network Magazine that had me dreaming of being crafty last Christmas and this Christmas.

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Photo: courtesy of Food Network

When we were in Italy this past summer, we came across this bread in Como: La Nuvola (the cloud). Tears came to my eyes when I saw them all lined up. I had to go inside and get a closer look!
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And there they were in front of my eyes…all of these fluffy beauties. We bought one. It is like a panettone but with spoonfuls of apricot jam cooked throughout the bread. Buttery, apriocty (is that a word?)and amazing!!
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Recipe Notes: In my Holiday Panettone, I added about 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and a 1/2 cup raisins and a 1/2 cup dried cranberries. I soaked the cranberries and raisins in hot water for about 10 minutes. I then drained and cooled them before adding to the batter. Dreamy! This is the exact recipe from the magazine. You could adjust the fruit to your taste. After the dough rose, I did add a little flour to the dough as it was very sticky. Before I baked the bread, I rubbed some soft butter on top of the loaves. Then I brushed an egg wash on top of the loaves.

Holiday Panettone Ingredient List
1/2 cup diced candied orange peel
3/4 cup dried cherries
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup diced dried apricots
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

*If you’re giving this mix to a nut lover, add 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts in place of some of the dried fruit

Add the panettone ingredients to a large bowl. Heat 1 cup whole milk, 1 stick butter, 1/4 cup honey and 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest to 120 degrees in a saucepan; stir into the mix. Mix in 2 lightly beaten eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Butter two 5-by-9-inch loaf pans or two empty 10-ounce coffee cans and line with parchment paper. Add the dough; cover and let rise 1 hour. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool before slicing.

So another year has passed. I get older and my kids get smarter. I’ve been dealing with some annoying health issue since this summer. I got a phone call from my doctor right before Christmas. She told me not to worry. Of course, I will worry until I do my follow-up test with her. I feel sentimental and I feel blessed while I glance at images from my past year. I know I’ll be fine. I just want to appreciate every instant. This  reminds me to do just that.

We spent beautiful days in Italy this summer and on the beach here in South Florida. My husband’s family in Italy is incredible. They have huge hearts and are all amazing in the kitchen. I hope you like some of the photos of my favorite things from this year.

My kids making a sand castle on the beach. Summer 2010.
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That is me and my lil’ guy on Mother’s Day. I had my hair colored dark brown last spring. Now it is blonde again. Lil’ guy told me when I had my hair colored brown, “I like the other Lora.” lol Winking smile
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My cute hubs and me outside of Aosta Italy this summer.
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Pasticcini. Italian pastries at a lunch this summer in Italy.
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The view on the way to Bellagio this summer.
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Il Duomo in Milan. Breathtaking.
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Oh Lordy-look at this cheese! At the market this summer outside of Como.
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Nonna Antonia, my husband’s grandmother, making Calabrese fried stuffed eggplant. She is a young 84. She had 9 kids. She is one of the happiest people I know.
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My husband’s cousin Giuseppe. Lunch at his house this summer in Aosta was even more entertaining because he is a sommelier. His presentation of this wonderful vino was adorable…just like him.

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Zia Teresa was making us this fresh carpaccio di manzo (beef carpaccio).
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Zia Teresa and her homemade pasta. She was so proud when she brought to show us how she hand rolled them earlier that day.italy2010 386
The last cappuccino at the airport in Milano. Perfection.
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This is what we got to see while we were checking our flights this summer leaving Italy. This GIGANTIC poster the width of all the flight monitors. Filled with half naked soccer players. My daughter was giggling. It was impossible to tell her not to look as these posters as they were all over the airport!! It was 6 AM. My eyes did finally open up. The Italian national soccer team in their D and G skivvies. Only in Italy.

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I think “la vita e’ bella”. Life is beautiful. Find beauty wherever you go. Kiss your kids. Pet your pooches. Give your neighbor a hug who maybe is feeling lonely during the holidays. Call your Grandma just to say “Hi!”. Call your brother and tell him you have a fresh banana bread that he has to come over and pick up. I did tonight.

I would like to share this Holiday Panettone with Yeastspotting :)

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