170g dried fruit – a mixture of chopped candied peel, raisins, dried cranberries, or anything else you fancy, soaked in 30mls brandy and the juice of half an orange and half a lemon.
40g ground almonds
45g egg white
15g light soft brown sugar
1 pannetone case or lined cake tin - 16cm / 6”
To make the stiff starter. Mix the mature starter together with the water and flour. You can either use the paddle on a mixer or mix by hand. Mix the dough for a couple of minutes, and then turn out onto a clean work surface and knead for a minute or so. Form the dough into a smooth ball and place into an oiled bowl, leave at room temperature for 6 – 8 hours until it has increased in volume by about 50%.
Before you begin making the dough prepare the fruit. Warm the brandy and orange and lemon juices together and pour over the dried fruit. Allow them to steep. You can do this the day before, if you wish.
To make the dough. The dough can be quite tricky to handle so best made in a mixer. Not impossible to make by hand but definitely not one for the faint hearted!
Place the water, honey and dried yeast into the mixer bowl and allow the yeast to dissolve, feel free to give it a stir. Cut your stiff starter into about a dozen pieces and add to the mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment on a low speed mix the starter into the water and honey mixture.
In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, egg yolks and vanilla. Add this to the mixer and stir to combine.
Next add the flour and salt. Mix on a medium speed for 5 minutes to start to develop the gluten. You may need to scrape down the bowl a couple of times.
With the mixer still on a medium speed, add the caster sugar a dessertspoon at a time making sure the sugar is mixed into the dough before adding the next spoonful.
Change the mixer attachment to the dough hook and begin to add the butter a little at a time, again making sure the butter is absorbed into the dough before adding any more. This should take about 5 minutes on a low to medium speed. Once all the butter has been added, turn the machine up a notch and mix for a further 5 minutes. Again you may need to scrape down the bowl once or twice.
Meanwhile drain any excess liquid from the dried fruit by placing it in a sieve over a bowl.
Check the pannetone dough by lifting up the dough hook, the dough should be lovely and silky with long thin, translucent strands. Soft but not too sticky.
I like to add the fruit by hand so that it doesn’t break up. Using your hand like a claw, mix the soaked fruit and the orange and lemon zest evenly into the dough. Your hand shouldn’t stick to the dough so you won’t need any flour at this point.
Lightly flour a work surface and turn out the dough.
Shape the dough into a ball using a dough scraper and place into the pannetone case or lined cake tin.
Cover and leave to rise at room temperature for about 12 to 14 hours until doubled in size.
Think about your timings before starting so that your dough isn’t ready to bake at 2am!
To make the topping. In a bowl mix the ground almonds, egg white and sugar together
When your pannetone is ready to bake, place the topping into a piping bag and gently pipe the mixture on to the top. Using a pallet knife, spread it all over so there are no gaps. Dust heavily with icing sugar.
Bake in a pre heated oven set at 180C for about 45 minutes or until evenly baked.
Remove from the oven and place onto a cooking rack and allow to cool completely before cutting.
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