Monday, 28 December 2015

Red, White and Blue Mini Panettones

Hello all, I hope you have had a nice Christmas or a general happy holidays if that's not your thing.  Mine was quite lovely except for the fact that I have been ill since I came off from school!  I was bed-ridden for 3 days, where I did nothing but watch movies on Netflix and sleep.  The Hubby did a wonderful job taking care of me (bringing me food and drinks and sitting with me for a bit) and has ended up being sick himself for his troubles.  It doesn't quite seem to be the same thing: he's really stuffed up whereas I was hurting and suffering an annoying and painful cough.  I've still got the latter.  Curse my weak lungs and the sensitivity to the weather.  It's worse this year though as it is far too easy for me to get out of breath.  I was almost done in by a walk to the train station yesterday (which is 3 minutes away).  

But enough about that.  As I was saying, my Christmas has been lovely.  There were some lovely presents under my  beautiful (if I say so myself since I made all the decorations) Christmas tree and it was nice having dinner with the Dunion side of the Hubby's family, as well as skyping mine.  I even spent a chunk of the day making mince pies because the mother-in-law had requested them.  I made a batch for taking to Christmas dinner and then sent another batch along to Falkirk with the in-laws on Boxing Day when they visited the McGinlay side of the family.  The Hubby and I didn't go.  We took the day to recover.

Now with the Dunion side of the family, one of the siblings hosts Christmas Dinner.  This year it was the Hubby's Aunt Linda.  We all go for our tea and then we all exchange presents with each other.  We didn't go last year since we were down in England visiting my family.  I try and make my presents for extended family.  The year before last it was orange shortbread.  This year, I made panettone since the Dunion side has Italian roots.

I'll say right off the bat, this is not a proper, traditional panettone.  You can probably see that from the photos since they are quite tall and skinny panettone and baked in tin cans.  True panettone would also require a sourdough starter, which I do not have the patience to cultivate or maintain, and several days for proving.  Admittedly, I did have that latter bit but it was slightly scuppered by the being ill thing.  Hence they are not as beautifully fluffy as a real panettone should be.  Finally, I'm not using the most traditional of ingredients.  No mixed fruit or Fiori di Sicilia.  This has cranberries, blueberries, white chocolate and candied peel.  Hence the red, white and blue in the title.  That being said, these are still very yummy and went down well as gifts.

I wanted the panettone to be as fresh as possible so I made them on Christmas Eve.  I just about managed to stay upright whilst doing it.  It gave me a fair bit of trouble.  The dough is ridiculously sticky for a start.  However, I may have added slightly more egg that I was meant to because a bag of sugar fell out the cupboard and upended my jug of beaten egg onto the floor.  There was still some left and I just mixed up 3 new eggs.  The recipe said it is meant to be sticky, but I'm also supposed to be able to knead it into a ball, which was a bit of a hassle and very messy.   It also did not want to rise so I was constantly worried that I had killed the yeast.  I ended up leaving it whilst we went for Christmas Eve tea and board games with the Hubby's parents, sister and sister's boyfriend.  I was praying they had risen by the time I got back so I could cook them before bed.  Otherwise I was going to have to start over again.  I stole eggs from my mother-in-law's kitchen just in case.   Thankfully though, I came home and they had risen.  I'd put them in the oven since I figured it would be a bit warmer in there and that seemed to do the trick.  Baking took forever as I was wanting that golden brown finish on the top and it was pretty late by the time I finally got to go to bed but the blasted things were done.  I would just need to spruce them up and package them the next morning, as well as grab a few photos (what a shame most of them blurred because I forgot to correct the ISO...).

Recipe - adapted from Good Food: Delicious Gifts
Makes 5 

There is a lot of waiting around and a lot of rising to be done with these.  At the least add in 2.5 hours for rising time but may take longer if it is cold.  Mine did.  Along with the prep and cooking time, you're looking at at least 4 hours from start to finish.

  •  500g/1lb 2oz plain flour
  • 14g/0.5oz easy blend, dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g/3.5oz golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200ml/7fl.oz milk
  • 200g/7oz butter
  • 75g/3oz dried cranberries
  • 75g/3oz dried blueberries
  • 100g/3.5oz white chocolate chips
  • 100g/3.5oz mixed candied peel
To finish:
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, yeast and salt together briefly before adding the sugar and mixing again.
  2. Heat the milk in a saucepan until it is hand hot.
  3. Beat the eggs with vanilla extract and add to the dry ingredients along with the warmed milk.  Mix to make a soft, sticky dough.
  4. Work the dough for a few minutes in the mixer then remove the hook and allow to rest until it has doubled in size (about 1 hour but maybe more if it is cold).
  5. Put the hook back in, add the butter to the dough in small pieces and mix to incorporate.  Leave to rise for another hour.
  6. Add the cranberries, blueberries, white chocolate chips and mixed peel to the dough and mix in until just incorporated.
  7. Grease the bottom of 5 clean 400g soup tins and add a circle of baking parchment.  Cut a strip of baking parchment that is just over double the height of the tin.  Fold in half and place inside the tin to form a collar.  Make sure the parchment sticks out over the top of the tin.
  8. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead quickly into a ball (the dough is very sticky so this is quite tricky and messy, I recommend using a dough cutter to help).  Divide the ball into 5 pieces and put one in each of the tins.  Leave to rise for about 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  10. Beat the egg and brush over the tops of the panettones and sprinkle with the flaked almonds.
  11. Bake for about 50 minutes or until the panettones are a deep golden colour.  
  12. Cool in the tins on a wire rack.  You should then be able to remove the parchment collar and decorate your tins with a bit of wrapping paper to present as a gift.

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