You’re going to notice a little bit of a theme with the Xtrawine blog posts this week.
With Christmas looming ever closer, we’re going to zero in on the foods that you may want to serve during the traditional Christmas feast.
More accurately, we’re going to look at the dish that’s often the highlight of the meal – dessert.
That little sweet treat that you always seem to find room for, no matter how much you ate before, is always something to look forward to.
And we want to help you do it Italian style.
With that in mind, this week’s blog posts will focus on some traditional Italian desserts and the Italian (or otherwise) wines that work really well with them.
Let’s kick things off with our first dessert of the week – Panettone.
What is Panettone?
Panettone is a traditional Italian sweetbread that makes use of a few different candied fruits to give you a tasty treat after a hefty meal.
It’s a light cake that’s heavy on flavour. Plus, it’s a traditional Christmas dessert that we’re sure you’re going to love.
This recipe comes from the BBC’s Good Food website and will result in a gorgeous Panettone that serves up to 8 people.
You’ll need ingredient for the cake itself and its topping:
- 14g of fast-action dried yeast
- 250g of softened butter
- 100g of caster sugar
- Four tablespoons of warm milk
- Five medium eggs that are lightly beaten
- 500g of white bread flour
- Grated zest of an orange and a lemon
- Two teaspoons of vanilla extract
- Three tablespoons of dark rum
- 80g of sultanas
- 80g of raisins
- 100g of finely chopped candied orange and lemon peel
- One tablespoon of egg white
- One tablespoon of caster sugar
- One tablespoon of icing sugar
- 30g of roughly chopped blanched almonds
These are the steps you need to follow to create this tasty cake.
Grab a 20cm deep cake tin and grease it. There are also specially-made panettone tins available if you’d rather use one of those.
Pour your warm milk into a bowl and add a teaspoon of sugar and your yeast. Set the bowl aside for a few minutes.
Grab a large bowl and add the rest of your sugar alongside your vanilla extract and butter. Beat it all together until you get a creamy and light substance.
Add your orange and lemon zest to the large bowl and stir it in. Then, add the eggs a little bit at a time, stirring each time to incorporate them.
If the mixture starts curdling, add a tablespoon of flour and beat it in along with the eggs.
Grab another large bowl and add your flour along with a pinch of salt.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and add your yeast mixture to the well. Then, pour the butter and egg mixture into the well.
Use a large spoon to fold the mixture into a soft dough. Then, knead the mixture in the bowl for five minutes. It should create a sticky dough.
Place the dough onto a pre-floured surface and keep kneading for about 10 minutes. Everything should come together and you’ll have a stretchy and soft dough.
You can sprinkle flour on your hands as you knead if the mixture keeps sticking to them.
Place the mixture into a bowl that you’ve greased lightly. Then store for 2 hours in a warm place. The mixture should double in size.
Grab a small pan and add your rum, raisins, and sultanas. Heat on a gentle flame for about five minutes or until the fruit absorbs the rum.
Tip the raised dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for another five minutes. Gradually add your raisins, sultanas, and chopped candied peels as you do this.
After kneading, create a ball with the dough and place it in your cake tin.
Wrap some baking parchment around the tin so that it extends about 5 cm above the tin’s lip. Use some string to keep it in place.
Cover the tin in cling film and set aside for an hour so that the dough rises to the top of the tin.
While waiting for the dough to rise, preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Make sure you leave plenty of space for the cake to expand.
Mix your topping ingredients together and spread them over the top of your dough.
Place in the oven and bake for between 40 and 50 minutes. Check to see if the cake’s baked by inserting a skewer in the centre. If it comes out clean, the cake’s ready.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to let it cool further. Then, dust it lightly with icing sugar and serve.
The Perfect Wine
So, what wine should you drink with this dessert?
We recommend a sparkling Italian wine, which means Prosecco is obviously going to be very high up on the list.
However, your choice may depend on just how strong the fruits are in your cake. The candied fruits may overwhelm some Proseccos, so you may want to consider a sparkling white that has fruity notes of its own. This will lighten the fruit tastes from the cake.
You may also decide to choose a sweet red wine if you’re cake’s particularly fruity. A light Amarone may be a good choice due to its taste and balanced nature.
Finally, you could opt for a sweeter fortified wine, though these typically have higher alcohol contents.
The Final Word
There you have it!
A tasty Panettone recipe along with a couple of wine suggestions based on how fruity you make the cake.
We must admit that we lean towards Prosecco when eating Panettone. But any wine with good fruity notes will do well here.