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Panettone teacakesI  love Panettone and intend to make it some time – I’ve even bought the cases already – but I get the impression it takes an age, is quite complicated, and is prone to failure (sometimes collapsing after you’ve proudly extracted it from the oven). Not that that will deter me. In the meantime, these buns are far simpler and still have the authentic texture, aroma and flavour, just in a smaller package. Not that they’re that small. In fact one would make quite a mouthful for just one person.

This recipe is an adaption of an adaption of an adaption of a recipe by Dan Lepard. He first published it in the Guardian, then included a modified version in his recent (and excellent) book, Short and Sweet. Patrick from Bakery Bits blogged a version making use of Aroma Panettone. Although I own a copy of Short and Sweet, it was Patrick’s version that I used – and adapted in various ways – purely because I wanted to make use of the Aroma Panettone that I had bought from him. This is a blend of citrus, flower and vanilla extracts that really does smell like Panettone in a bottle.

Ingredients

Makes 10

  • 5 teaspoons fast action yeast (2 x 7g sachets would do)
  • 155ml warm water
  • 600g strong white flour
  • 50ml milk
  • 75g white chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 25g golden syrup
  • 25g caster suger
  • 150g mixed currants and sultanas
  • 150g chopped mixed peel (chop your own if possible)
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 medium eggs plus 3 egg yolks
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 25g honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons aroma panettone
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 beaten egg for glazing
  • Nibbed sugar or crushed sugar cubes to decorate
  • 2 30x30cm baking trays lined with baking parchment or greased with butter

Method

Mix the yeast with 3 tablespoons of the flour and gradually mix in the warm water. Leave for 15 minutes until frothy. This will give the yeast a “head start”, which the richness of the other ingredients might otherwise impede.

Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until melted. Then mix in the golden syrup, honey, sugar and salt. If still hot, leave to cool.

Beat the eggs and extra yolks into the milk mixture along with the orange zest, aroma panettone and vanilla extract.

Put the remaining flour in a bowl. Give the yeast mixture a good stir, then add all the liquids to the flour and mix until evenly combined. The dough will be quite sticky.

Scrape out onto an unfloured surface and knead or work it for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Work the currants, sultanas and mixed peel into the dough. You can do this in the bowl or on the work surface (but in that case you do need to watch out for runaway bits of fruit).

Cover the bowl with cling film and leave the dough to rise until roughly doubled in size.

Scrape the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and divide it into 10 pieces of about 140g (for best effect use your scales to get them all roughly the same weight). Shape then into balls and flatten out to about 2cm high. Place them on the baking trays 3-4cm apart. Cover with plastic or clean tea towels and leave until they have increased in height by about a half.

Heat the oven to 200C / 400F / Gas Mark 6 (adjust for fan oven).

Brush the tops of the buns with beaten egg and sprinkle with knibbed sugar or crushed sugar cubes.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until they are a rich brown (teacake!) colour all over. Check them half way through and turn the trays and swap them between shelves if they are browning unevenly.

Cool on a wire rack, covered with a clean tea towel.Panettone teacakes

Notes

I found both the intial and final rise were rather slow, but once the buns were in the oven they shot up. The photos don’t really do justice to their final size, which was about 10cm across and 5cm high.

It may just be my oven (it certainly has “character”) but on my first baking of these I found Lepard’s suggested temperature of 220C was browning the buns too quickly, so I turned it down to 200C half way through. The second time I went with 200C from the start, and that is what I have suggested here. But as ever, you will need to take your own oven into account and adjust accordingly.

These don’t keep as well as shop-bought Panettone, but if they start to get a bit dry after a few days they are still delicious with butter, and I think they would make a great bread and butter pudding.

This is a wonderful recipe. Although I really liked the Aroma Panettone, I intend to use Dan’s recipe as given next time, as his combination of essences sounds intriguing. I do urge you to buy Short and Sweet. It is full of inspiring recipes, and you’ll probably find yourself torn as I was over which one to make first.