Il cenone is the feast of thirteen dishes in the Italian Christmas lunch tradition. While this special tradition is centered around seafood, you likely won’t find this feast unaccompanied by the dessert bread, panettone. Panettone is extremely popular at the Christmas lunch.

History of Panettone

If you are invited to an Italian Christmas lunch you will likely be asked, “panettone or pandoro?” The rivalry between these two loaf breads has caused divides in Italian households since their invention. The history of panettone dates back over 500 years. it all started with a noble named Ughetto degli Atellani. This romantic legend says that he disguised himself as a baker to win the heart of Adalgisa, the daughter of a poor baker. He invents the panettone recipe, named Pan del Ton after her father, impresses her and wins her heart, and the rest is history. This citrus-flavored, round, paper-wrapped bread has lived on throughout the ages. Here is a panettone recipe you can make at home for your next Italian feast.

Italian Panettone Recipe

Panettone recipe Ingredients

The rum and candied citron make this bread taste exceptional! You will need:

  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 2 tbsp rum
  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1/4 tsp zest of lemon
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split in half
  • 2/3 cup tepid water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 10 1/2 tbsp soft, unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp chilled unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup candied citron

Italian Panettone Recipe


#1 Combine raisins, rum, and hot water in a bowl. Soak and room temperature and stir periodically. The raisins should be plump and the liquid should be absorbed. This takes about eight hours so start this early or the night before!

#2 This part requires a standing mixer and a paddle attachment. Combine the sugar, flour, salt, yeast, vanilla bean and zest using the low setting.

#3 Whisk tepid water, eggs, and honey in a medium bowl.

#4 Keeping the mixer on low, add the egg and honey mix to the dry ingredients and increase to medium speed until everything is combined. Tablespoon by tablespoon, add the soft butter. Increase to high speed until you have an elastic dough. This takes about eight minutes.

#5 Stir the drained raisins and candied citron into the dough.

#6 Allow it to rise in a cold oven for 15 hours.

#7 Take the vanilla bean out of the dough, re-flour and put it in the panettone mold for 5 hours. Preheat the oven to 370 degrees.

#8 Place the mold in a baking sheet and slice an “X” on the top. Bake until a wooden skewer comes out moist. This takes about 75 minutes.

#9 Skewer the panettone all the way around, about one inch from the bottom. Hang it upside down over a stockpot while cooling. È finito!

Panettone is best enjoyed with a piping hot espresso or cafe latte.

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