Panettone is a typical dessert originating in Milan and is now one of the cornerstones of the gastronomic tradition linked to the Christmas holidays. It is customary to conclude the Christmas lunch or dinner with a slice of Milanese panettone (or pandoro) that, as we will see, we can enjoy in different variations.
In addition to the established rivalry between these two traditional desserts, it should be said that in Liguria and the lower Piedmont the Genoese pandolce is also very popular. The latter is also improperly called "panettone" by some. The characteristic Genoese flattened dessert however has a less seasonal character and is available practically all year round.
Traditional panettone is also widespread in various South American countries where there is a large population of Italian origin, such as Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
Origins of the panettone
The origins of this typical dessert are ancient and, as such, difficult to identify with certainty. We don’t know where the story ends and where the legend of this typical dessert begins. One of these legends goes back to the times of Ludovico il Moro, who was Duke of Milan at the end of the fifteenth century; so this cake could be more than 500 years old. In the same way it is difficult to identify the origins of the name panettone: according to some legends, it would come from "pan del Toni" and therefore be linked to the name of a cook or a pastry chef.
The typical Milanese panettone is cylindrical with a dome-shaped top. The dough is obtained from water, flour, egg yolk, butter to which are added candied fruits, peel of citron and orange and raisins.
Preparation of Milan panettone
The panettone of the Milanese artisan tradition is a natural leavening. When the dough has finished leavening, the pastry chef divides it into pieces of 750 - 1000 grams and bakes it in the oven at 190 and 90 º C for 50 minutes. After cooking, it puts it to cool upside down. As a result, the product so obtained is soft, with a honeycombed structure. It has a particular color and aroma due to the ingredients used and to the sour yeast.
In recent years, many different variations of this traditional dessert have been born. From the simplest ones, for example without candied fruit for those who do not love them, to the most delicious ones stuffed with chocolate and pistachio, orange or pastry creams. Panettone can also be enriched with various types of icing.In Piedmont, some artisan pastry chefs produce a delicious Moscato wine panettone. Another variant is the Venetian one that is free of candied fruits and raisins and has a icing of almonds or grains of sugar.