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Panettone is an unmissable favorite in every Italian home at Christmas time. Its original recipe harks back to the middle ages, but with the rapid industrialization that exploded in the 20th century, so did the popularity of the panettone. It is now a well-known Christmas treat all over the world.

Perhaps you’ve already seen them in your local shops, packaged so beautifully that it’s almost a shame to tear open the wrapping – but trust me, what you’ll find inside is certainly worth it.

This tall, airy loaf is a hybrid between a sweet bread and a cake, a delicate construction of air bubbles and subtly sweet taste, stuffed with shimmering jewels of citrus peel. A mouthful of panettone is as light as air, and its soft buttery crumb simply melts on the tongue.

Here to help us on our mission to create the perfect panettone is our Cesarina Laura. She joined the Cesarine network in 2016, and lives in Milan, one of the world’s fashion capitals. Another one of this city’s lesser-known qualities is its fantastic cuisine, which boasts rich and opulent dishes such as “risotto giallo” (bright yellow saffon risotto) and flash-fried ‘mondeghili’ meatballs.
Laura joined Cesarine because she loves preparing Milanese dishes, and wants to share the city’s culinary treasures with the world. She is a chef by profession, but welcoming guests into her own home for dinners gives her a chance to share the recipes she holds closest to her heart.

When I called her to ask for her family panettone recipe, however, I was met with a sharp intake of breath.
Oh, if it’s a secret recipe, don’t worry…” I began, aware of the protectiveness of Italians when it comes to their family cookbooks.
“No, I can share it,” replied Laura, “but do your readers know what they’re letting themselves in for?”
Readers, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Making panettone is not an easy task, but if you’re up for a challenge, I wish you luck.

Difficulty: Difficult
Preparation time: 16 hours
Cooking Time: 40 mins
Quantity: 6 people
Cost: Low-Medium

Ingredients

First Dough (rising time: approx 15 hours)

400g strong white flour
140ml water
10g natural yeast (or sourdough starter)
120g sugar
100g butter, softened
5 egg yolks

Second Dough (rising time: 6-8 hours)

100g strong white flour
80ml water
10g natural yeast
100g sugar
150g butter
5 egg yolks
30g honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
Zest of 1 lemon + 1 orange
160g candied citrus peel
15g Raisins

Method

First Dough

  1. In an electric dough mixer/Kitchen Aid, add the flour, water and sugar, and mix for about 5 minutes. Leave the resulting mixture to rest and add in the butter, yeast and the egg yolks.
  2. Leave the dough to mix in the machine until a smooth texture is achieved.
  3. Leave the dough to rise in a warm dry place, covered with a tea-towel at 25-27°C (77 – 80°F) for about 15 hours, or until the dough has tripled in size. In the meantime, you’ll prepare your second dough.

Second Dough

  1. Add the flour, water, yeast, sugar, butter, egg yolks, honey, vanilla extract and salt to the mixer, and work the into a smooth dough. 
  2. Once it is smooth and homogenous, work in the first dough and then gently and quickly incorporate the candied peel and raisins until just combined.
  3. Place the dough in a panettone mold and cut a cross in the top with an oiled knife. Add a small knob of butter into the center of the cross, and leave the dough to rise for another 6 – 8 hours. If you like, you can glaze the top with egg yolk or milk just before cooking, for a shiny finish, but Laura prefers hers without.
  4. Bake at 180°C (355°F) for about 40 minutes.

Master the Panettone... In a Real Italian Home!

Make your Christmas in Italy extra sweet.