It is traditionally made with citron and golden rasins, but J and I really don't like citron, so we make ours with a more festive-feeling dried cranberries and pistachios, and a hit of grand marnier. This bread traditionally needs a starter that takes at least a week to develop, and a several day proofing process, but someone (J), forgot this year, so we cheated with a recipe from epicurious, and got it done in just a few hours with the help of a warm oven.
We got a great rise on these in the proofing, and they rose even higher in the oven- our best effort to date really. They had a nice crumb, but perhaps might have a nice one if given more time to rise.
Panettone (adapted from Gourmet)
1 cup dried cranberries (5 oz)
1/2 cup sgrand marnier
1/2 cup warm milk (105–115°F)
2/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from two 1/4-oz packages)
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened, plus additional for buttering cans
1 cup diced pistachios
For egg wash
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
Special equipment: a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment; 2 (10- to 15-oz) clean coffee cans (paper or plastic labels removed); parchment paper
Simmer cranberries in grand marnier in a small saucepan 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until cooled to room temperature.
Meanwhile, stir together warm milk and 2 teaspoons sugar in bowl of mixer. Sprinkle yeast over mixture and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.) Add 1/4 cup flour and beat at medium speed until combined. Add whole eggs, yolk, zest, lemon juice, salt, and remaining 2/3 cup sugar and beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low, then mix in remaining 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Increase speed to medium-high, then gradually beat in butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to beat until dough is shiny and forms strands from paddle to bowl, 4 to 6 minutes. (Dough will be very soft and sticky.) Drain cranberries, discarding grand marnier, then add to dough along with pistachios and mix at low speed until incorporated.
Scrape dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 2 to 3 hours.
While dough rises, generously butter coffee cans and line bottom and side of each with parchment (use a round for bottom and a rectangle for side).
Punch down dough with lightly floured hands and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Halve dough and scoop 1 half into each can, pressing gently to expel any air bubbles. Loosely cover cans with lightly buttered plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until dough reaches top of cans, 2 to 3 hours. (Alternatively, let dough rise in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours; bring to room temperature, 3 to 4 hours, before baking.)
Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 375°F.
Beat together yolk and water and lightly brush top of dough with egg wash. Bake until tops are deep golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped (remove from cans first), 35 to 40 minutes. (Firmly thump bottoms of inverted cans to remove.) Transfer loaves to a rack and discard parchment. Cool to room temperature.