Monday 12 January 2009

Festive Fruit and Orange Choc Chip Mini Panettones

Sorry for my absence over the last few days, what with winter flu and colds, family gatherings, uni work and general holiday hectic-ness I haven’t found the time to sit down and blog. However I have been keeping my camera at my side and so now have a little backlog of recipes to post about, so if you see a few festive recipes here in the next couple of weeks don’t be confused – I know its nearly the middle of January, but its still cold and icy outside and I’m trying to catch up.

Over the Christmas and New Year I baked a range of goodies for friends and family, both as gifts and as sweet treats to have on hand should any visitors call in. One of the festive treats I love over Christmas is panettone. A real Italian panettone is a baking masterpiece, light and buttery, and studded with fruits, nuts or chocolate and I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t like one variety or another.

This year I decided to try and make my own miniature panettones to give away as gifts as I had been given some pretty card muffin cases which reminded me of the small panettone cases I have seen in bakeries. I couldn’t decide on what flavour to do and so I made a plain dough with just a hint of orange zest and then divided it in half and made one batch dark chocolate chip and the other a mix of colourful festive fruits.

The dough is quite straightforward, although you need to plan in advance for making these as you have to make a biga, a sort of starter, which has to ferment overnight before you can begin work on the main dough. So it’s a slightly lengthy but fun process. The dough itself was a little sticky but smooth and supple and very easy to work with. I was so pleased when they came out of the oven with their golden tops and soft buttery interiors. I wrapped most of them in cellophane and attached little labels and gave them away as gifts, but I made sure to keep some back for myself. I found the texture to be slightly heavier and denser than a true Italian panettone (and how do they get it that wonderful golden colour inside?) but it was soft and buttery with a lovely flavour so I was by no means disappointed.

Festive Fruit and Orange Choc Chip Mini Panettones
(Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour Company)
180g plain flour
115ml water
¼ tsp instant yeast

3 eggs
115g butter cut into chunks
300g plain flour
60g caster sugar
5 tsp instant yeast
1½ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
Zest of 1 orange

125g dried fruit (figs, raisins, apricots & cherries)
125g dark chocolate chips
40g butter for brushing

Method – for the biga
Sieve the flour into a bowl, mix with the yeast and pour over the water. Mix together with your hands until a dough is formed. Knead for a few minutes until soft and springy.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a fairly cool place for 12 hours or overnight until light and bubbly.
To make the dough, simply place all the dough ingredients and the bubbly biga into a food mixer and mix with the dough hook until it forms a soft yet sticky dough. You can do this by hand, but it takes a lot longer.
Divide the dough into two equal portions place in greased bowls to prove for an hour until slightly risen.
Turn out onto a work surface and knead the chocolate chips into one half and the fruit (roughly chopped) into the other half.
Tear off chunks of the dough and roll into balls. Each ball should weigh around 100-120g in weight.
Place the balls into sturdy card muffin cases. (I got 6 balls of each variety from the mix). Place the muffin cases on a large tray and leave to rise in a warm place for a further 2hours until well risen.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Bake the panettones for 15 minutes until golden brown, then quickly cover with a sheet of foil and bake for a further 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and transfer the panettones in their cases to a wire rack.
Brush a little melted butter over the top of each panettone and leave to cool before either serving or wrapping in clingfilm and storing in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


Beth (jamandcream) said...

These look great. Will have to bookmark for next year. Love the cases

Finla said...

The look so beautiful and delicious.

Snooky doodle said...

these are awesome. I go mad for panettone but I always buy it since the only time I tried making it it came awful. Yours look like store bought ones but more tasty :)

Johanna GGG said...

that looks impressive Christmas baking - my mum always gets pannetone at Christmas and I love it - your version sounds delicious

Anonymous said...

First time Ive seen anyone make panettones - everyone normally buys them - well done! I will now be trying this recipe. The cases make them look really good - do you know where we can buy them for the future?

The Caked Crusader said...

your mini panettone look beautiful and I love the cases you baked them in.

Anonymous said...

Looks lovely Katie! I am going to have to try your version next Christmas!

Sam said...

Wow these look great, I love Panettone although I've never tried making it.

Anonymous said...

They're really, really cute, Katie!

To get the golden crumb, they use semolina flour and gorgeous free-range eggs. But it's mostly the flour that gives the colour. (Italian semolina appears to be different from ours and I haven't tracked down any of their sort yet...)

Anonymous said...

So cute... Love the mini panettone molds and the prints on them.
I like all type of panettone myself, but I haven't tried one with chocolate.

Anonymous said...

I tasted these and they really were delicious. I naughtily spread butter on the fruit ones for extra richness (well it was Christmas after all).