Thursday, 7 January 2010

Where had all the Panettones gone?

Its been a Christmas tradition in the Stasher household to have a Panettone for Christmas breakfast, along with fresh fruit and good coffee. Yes I have heard all the jokes about the cake, how they are kept in boxes and passed round and round within the Italian community etc. started by people (non Italians) who I am sure have never tasted that delicious Italian delicacy.

I have even been known to stash them, to bring out a new one for New Year, and even one for Easter.

This year it was panic, when I went out to seek my panettone I could not find any. Mr S was sent out to the shops near to where he works, and we even went to Lidl in Leamington, Waitrose, Sainsbury's etc., and they had all sold out, and the message was that not many had been sent out from Italy this year!

A couple of days before Christmas when the dismal thought of our first Christmas together for over 18 years now, without Panettone, got to me. Well with my bread making skills I ought to come up with some special and suitable breakfast bread!

I had a eureka moment at 3:00 a.m.: Pumpkin rolls. Why? Well, I had been rummaging through my stash of quirky things in the freezer the night before and had come across some pumpkin puree (serendipity)and had also remembered in my sleep a recipe in Linda Collister's: Bread from Ciabatta to Rye. This book had been a Christmas present from my good friend and excellent baker Vickie, a few years back. I did not follow the recipe exactly as I used dried cranberries instead of fresh cranberries, which I soaked in warm apple juice to plump up, and added a couple of egg yolks left from the royal icing for added richness, and plenty of pecan nuts too. I decided to make up the dough and leave it to rise overnight very slowly in a very cold conservatory, probably colder than the fridge!

During the night of the 'rising' I had another eureka moment and worked out some way of cooking the dough to look more like a panettone. I used a tall cake tin, and let it rise as far above the rim as I dared before putting it in the oven. Christmas Eve afternoon I was at last a happy woman.....

Mr S has voted this our new festive bread. A later call on Christmas Eve from Lita from down the road, and a rather sad face of being on her own on Christmas morning, brought a invitation to share our breakfast....that meant we had to get up early and be showered and dressed by 9:00, but it was lovely to share our 'Panettone' with a new friend. It was sufficient for breakfast on the following two days too.

It took pride of place on the sideboard with the Christmas Cake, which was delicious.

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