Panettone is a sweet, Italian yeast bread whose rich, complex flavors come from eggs, butter, vanilla, honey, lemon zest and candied fruit. It is eaten like a coffee cake or as a sweet snack between meals. Traditionally, it is made over the course of several days, allowing for a specific regimen of kneading and rising. Ultimately, it is baked in a high, cylindrical paper mold, which gives the panettone its signature tall, round shape. Although you can buy metal or paper baking molds designed specifically for panettone, you can also use a large, tin coffee can to achieve the same general shape.
Remove the top of a metal coffee can with a can opener. Remove the coffee from the can. Wash the empty metal coffee can with warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Dry it completely. Discard the plastic lid. Do not use a plastic coffee can because it will melt in the oven.
Place the coffee can upright on a sheet of baking parchment paper near one corner. Trace around the bottom of the can onto the parchment paper with a pencil or pen. Remove the can and cut the paper with scissors slightly inside the circle you traced. This circle will line the bottom of the can for the panettone.
Cut a rectangle of parchment paper to line the inside of the coffee can. It should be just slightly less wide than the coffee can is tall and slightly less long than the circumference of the coffee can.
Coat the sides of the empty coffee can with shortening or butter. Place the parchment paper circle on the bottom inside the can and the rectangle around the inside. The shortening or butter will hold the paper pieces in place.
Prepare the panettone dough according to your recipe. When it is ready for baking, shape the desired amount into a ball and place it in the coffee can. Use as many metal coffee cans as you need to accommodate all the panettone dough. At this point, the panettone recipe will probably instruct you to let the dough rise one final time in the can. Let the dough rise slightly higher than the coffee can rim to achieve the traditional, domed panettone shape. Then bake the panettone in a preheated oven according to your recipe.
Remove the coffee can from the oven when the panettone is finished baking. Allow it to cool on a wire rack.
- Remove the panettone from the coffee can after baking and cooling, but retain the parchment paper around the bread to make a nice serving presentation. Remove the paper and slice the panettone to serve.
- You can also substitute a soufflé dish or Charlotte mold for the panettone mold.
Karren Doll Tolliver holds a Bachelor of English from Mississippi University for Women and a CELTA teaching certificate from Akcent Language School in Prague. Also a photographer, she records adventures by camera, combining photos with journals in her blogs. Her latest book, "A Travel for Taste: Germany," was published in 2015.
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