Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Last night I was watching Food Networks “Best Thing I Ever Ate: Christmas Special.” This show is a bit different than the typical Food Network shows as it has the chefs telling us where they like to eat and the best thing they ever ate (each episode changes it could be chocolate dish, appetizer, eggs etc). So last night was the Christmas special and Giada de Laurentiis, Food Network’s Italian beauty was talking about her Christmas staple – panettone. Panettone is a traditional Christmas & New Year sweet bread loaf that originated in Milan. It is enjoyed in Italy, Malta, Brazil, Switzerland, and South America, and is one of the symbols of the city of Milan. It truly is a Christmas dinner staple. Giada regaled us of what panettone meant to her, but she also told us that instead of making this difficult cake she likes to head to Emporio Rulli in California for this “blissful” dessert.

According to Rulli, their panettone recipe is a century old recipe handed down to Chef Rulli during his apprenticeship in Italy. The knowledge and technique needed to make this 16th century leavened cake from Milan has been passed down from panettone maestri to their apprentices for generations! The cake is made up of fine wheat flour, creamery butter, egg yolks, golden raisins and Italian candied orange peels. There is a 50% butter to flour ration, it is soft, flakey, butter and delicious! The cake is about 12-15cm high, and when removed from the oven is hung upside to ensure that it doesn’t collapse! The “proofing process” ensures that this cake maintains its distinctive fluffy characteristics! (Proofing process means letting the dough rise high enough in order to get the height on the cake. The whole process takes 5 hours!!)

This yummy Italian dessert is one that our neighbours have given us every year at Christmas and something I always look forward too. Perfect with a cup of coffee or espresso, or even turned into a bread pudding, panettone is a wonderful Christmas dessert!

photo credit: google images

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