This is a sweet yeast cake that is a traditional part of Christmas in Italy, but it is served with coffee and for breakfast throughout the year in many regions. Panettone keeps well in an airtight container and can be reheated whole. (and I really like it spread with butter and jam!)
approx. 350g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
15g fresh yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast
50g caster sugar
4 tablespoons warm water (or milk)
3 eggs or 6 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
100g butter, softened
40g candied lemon peel, chopped
25g butter, melted
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, with a teaspoon of the sugar and leave in a warm place to froth.
Beat the eggs with the vanilla essence and lemon rind ready for use later.
Cream the softened butter and suger together until fluffy. Then gradually mix in the egg mixture.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Gently add and mix in the milky/yeast and then the creamed butter/sugar mixture. Mix until you have a soft dough.
Mix the rest of the sugar into the flour.
Turn it on to a floured board and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and silky. Put into a warm bowl, cover, and leave for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
Knock back the dough and knead in the sultanas and peel. Shape the dough into a ball, put into a greased and lined 18 cm / 7 inch round cake tin and cut a cross in the top. Leave in a warm place for about 15 to 20 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Brush the top of the Panetone with melted butter and bake in the centre of a preheated moderately hot oven at 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6 for 10 minutes. Brush again with melted butter and reduce the heat to 180°'C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4 for a further 40 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire tray. Serve cut into thick wedges.