Ah, the holidays. This is always a strange time of year. As a Jew in a Christian cultured environment it is always an odd balancing act - how to acknowledge Christmas, even celebrate it with friends and family members, without losing my own celebrations at the same time. I was lucky enough to grow up is a neighborhood filled with diverse cultures, so I feel like I got to learn a lot, and celebrate a lot, while still maintaining my own identity. Every December the Daring Bakers are challenged to make something fairly Christmas-y, and this year was no exception. But I have found that food is such a great teacher of culture that I kind of look forward to the opportunity to learn something new.
The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread!
Wow. Panettone. Kind of like an Italia fruitcake, but not at all. I had, before this challenge, never seen a home made panettone. And this coming from someone who grew up next door to off-the-boat Italians who cooked and baked everything. All I knew of panettone was that it was the big tall, box with the big tall cake-type thing. Thanks to the amazing and talented Marcellina, I got to learn what a panettone is all about and how to bake it at home.
Marcellina gave us a fabulous recipe to work from, but she did allow for some leeway in fillings and such. In somewhat of a departure for me, I stuck to her recipe except for two changes - this must be a record of fewest alterations by me! Yay! The original recipe calls for a lot of eggs and a lot of butter. Like, seven eggs (ok, three of them are only yolks, but you need seven eggs) and one and a half cups of butter. Yes, one and a half cups. Three sticks. For my first substitution I used (you guessed it) margarine instead of butter. For my second change I decided two sticks (one cup) would be more than enough, and used a half cup of applesauce for the last part. Other than that, I followed Marcellina's recipe (ok, I us different fried fruits in my filling, but that was encouraged!) and method, and was quite impressed.
There are a lot of steps here,and therefor a lot of pictures. So from here I will try to let the pictures do the talking for me.
Thank you so much, Marcellina! This was a learning experience, and a lot of fun, too!! And thank you to Lis, the Daringest of the Daring Kitchen-ers, for creating such a wonderful forum!
Please check out the beautiful creations made by my fellow Daring Bakers. You won't be disappointed.
And happy holidays, no matter hat holidays they are!