Grandma Dilaura's Panettone

 

We don’t deviate much from the past when it comes to the DiLaura Christmas morning menu. Since my earliest memories of Santa Claus and pink bikes with baskets, Christmas morning always starts with a buttered slice of my Grandma DiLaura’s toasted panettone. The smell of sweet anise wafting from downstairs is a sign that ‘ole St. Nick has done his job. This family edible heirloom originated in the late 1800s in Florence and was passed down through word of mouth, until my grandmother finally jotted down the ingredients. Once a year she pulled out her big wooden spoon and lovingly made a generous batch by hand, sharing a loaf with family and friends – a true symbol of Christmas.

What you will need

5 cups whole milk

4 cups sugar, plus 1/4 cup for yeast

1 pound unsalted butter

1/4 cup shortening (or use all butter)

1 teaspoon anise oil (if you can't find oil, substitute 4 teaspoons anise extract)

9 packets non-instant yeast

5 pounds all-purpose flour, plus 5 cups (plus 4-5 more cups for kneading)

6 teaspoons salt

8 large eggs

15 ounces golden raisins (soaked in hot water to plump if dry)

30 ounces dark raisins (soaked in hot water to plump if dry)

1/2 pound pine nuts

1 egg yolk, plus 1 tablespoon water for brushing tops

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