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Two sheets of dough, one heavy with fruit and nuts, the other, plain, rolled together and baked into a circular loaf in a tube pan, become Italian Christmas Fruit Bread. This is richer than most other panettone recipes but that is as it should be--it's for the holidays.
- 1 package dry yeast
- 1⁄2 cup lukewarm water (105 - 115 degrees)
- 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3⁄4 cup butter, room temperature
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 3 egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
- 1⁄3 cup raisins, rinsed and patted dry
- 1⁄2 cup shredded candied lemon peel
- 1⁄2 cup shredded candied citron peel
- 1⁄2 cup chopped blanched almond
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 24 whole blanched almonds
- Baking Pan: LARGE Tube pan, buttered.
- In a small bowl dissolve yeast in water.
- Stir briskly with a fork or metal whisk.
- Blend in 1/2 cup flour and let the sponge stand until it is bubbly--about 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar and follow this with eggs and egg yolks.
- Beat thoroughly until well mixed.
- Add yeast, vanilla, salt and about 4 cups of flour--one cup at a time.
- stir with a wooden spoon until it becomes too difficult to turn--then work in by hand.
- When it is soft, but not sticky, turn from the bowl onto a floured board or counter top.
- Knead the dough for about 8 minutes and divide the ball in two equal parts.
- One half is put aside to rest while the other half receives the raisins, candied peel, citron and chopped nuts Work the fruit and nuts in well.
- Keep the two halves separate.
- Place them in greased bowls, cover tightly with plastic wrap and move to a warm place (80 to 85 Degrees) to rise until doubled in bulk about 50 minutes.
- You can test if they have risen by poking a finger in them; the dents will remain.
- (I warm up my oven for a minute-- turn it off-- and leave the pilot light on, and put my dough here).
- Punch down the two doughs, separately turn them onto the floured surface, and knead again for 3 minutes.
- Butter pan, sprinkle it with sugar, and stud the bottom with whole blanched almonds.
- Roll the plain dough into a triangle.
- (The long side--about 24 inches--will encircle the tube, with the ends overlapping.) Roll out the fruit dough the same size.
- Lay it on top of the plain.
- Beginning at the base of the triangle, roll up the two doughs, and fit them into the prepared pan.
- Try an experimental circle before dropping the dough into the pan to be certain the ends overlap, and, together, are about the same thickness as the center of the roll.
- Cover the pan with wax paper and place in a warm spot to rise until dough has doubled in bulk about one hour.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Bake in a hot oven for 10 minutes, REDUCE the oven temperature to moderate 350 F.
- and continue to bake for another 50 minutes, or until the loaf tests done.
- Insert a metal skewer or wooden toothpick into the center of the loaf.
- If it comes out clean and dry, the loaf is done.
- If moist particles cling to the probe, return the loaf to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
- Test again.
- Remove bread from the oven and turn from the pan and place on a cooling rack.
- Slice in wedges.
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