Even though this week is absolutely mental in terms of work, I managed to get a few baking treats in over last weekend so I could post more on my much-neglected blog. The Viking had to stay in London so I had the whole weekend and the whole house to myself which, as any baking blogger will tell you, is absolutely perfect to get stuff done. I made pastry for the freezer, (which doesn’t sound like a big deal but this pastry is extra-special and not the easiest to make so it’s always good to have some in the freezer for mince pies) I experimented with ideas for a vegetarian Christmas centrepiece (still working on it but I think it’s going to involve pastry, veggie sausages and stuffing – watch this space) and I still had time to bake a few treats for myself. I almost feel that I may start a new tradition for the weekend before Christmas to be alone and allow myself time to enjoy the whole process. I really needed it to. Instead of the crazy bonkers madness of pre-Christmas baking I actually had a lovely, peaceful time, with the radio on playing silly Christmas songs it was pure joy. I pretty much managed to stay in my pyjamas the whole weekend too so it really was rather epic.
this is a really delicious and festive recipe for a light panettone, which if you don’t know, is a soft and sweet Italian bread traditionally baked and eaten at Christmas. It’s usually packed with dried fruits and nuts and even though i’m a big fan of this kind of bread I’ve actually never made it before. This recipe is inspired by one from Paul Hollywood and the texture is more akin to brioche that panettone although it definitely has that bready, crumbly texture. The mincemeat is an easy a quick fix to add some Christmas spice but don’t expect an easy ride with this recipe, it takes a good 24 hours to make properly, which is well worth the wait. This is an epic bake and the final bread, toasted with melting butter was sublime… and so wonderfully Christmassy.
- 500g strong white flour
- 7g salt
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 x 7g sachets instant yeast
- 140ml warm milk
- 5 free-range eggs, at room temperature, plus extra for egg wash
- 250g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 400g jar of mincemeat
- 100g almond slithers
place the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, milk and the eggs into the bowl of a free-standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix slowly for two minutes, then increase the speed to medium and mix for a further 6-8 minutes until you have a soft dough.
add the softened butter and mix for another 5-8 minutes. Remember to scrape down the bowl periodically to ensure that the dough mixes well. It will be very soft, then add the mincemeat and nuts. Mix until all is incorporated.
tip the dough into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge overnight until the dough has firmed up enough for you to able to shape it.
prepare a 18cm/7in panettone tin by brushing the inside generously with melted butter – I couldn’t find a panettone tin anywhere in our local town but a deep loose-bottommed cake tin with a double lining of taller parchment paper did the trick
remove the panettone dough from the fridge. Knock back the dough, shape into a ball and place into the tin.
Leave to prove at room temperature for a further 2-3 hours, until the dough just starts to dome over the top of the tin.
Preheat the oven to 180C
brush the top of the panettone with egg wash and bake for about 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 150C and bake for a further 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
remove the panettone from the tin immediately and allow to cool.
eat and of course, enjoy!