I love a panettone at Christmas, but sometimes those large ones are just too large. You need a lot of family and friends round to get through it before it goes stale. These little muffin-sized panettone (or more correctly, panettoncini) are sometimes a better option, are delightfully cute and are also great as little individual bake-and-share Christmas gifts.
What’s extra handy with these (although this does degrade their quality a little) is that they can be frozen and brought out of the freezer to defrost at room temperature for half a day/overnight. So you can bake a batch in advance and defrost a few at a time.
Bake in muffin cases, or proper panettoncini paper cases are available. I purchase mine from Bakery Bits (they also have the large cases).
Traditionally, the large, full-size panettone need to be cooled while being hung upside down (skewers are in seated across the base to hang it). This stops the domed top from deflating. You do NOT need to do this with the panettoncini: they can cool in their cases standing up.
This is a wet dough – you can knead it by hand successfully, but it is so very messy! Simpler to use a stand mixer or food processor for this.
- 10-12 cases (see notes)
- Stand mixer or bread machine on dough setting ideally. Or large bowl
- Bread scraper
- Scales, measuring spoons, knife, pastry brush
- Small jug or bowl
- Baking tray
- Tea towel/cloth
- 1 teaspoon of dried, fast acting yeast
- 80ml milk, warmed to body temperature
- 400g Tipo 00 or plain flour (not bread flour)
- 2 teaspoons of (a good quality) dark cocoa powder
- 2 medium eggs
- Seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod or 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla powder
- 120g golden caster sugar or light brown sugar
- 50g of softened unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt
- 180g water
- 75g dark chocolate, cut into chunks
- 75g pistachios
- 3 tablespoons of honey
- 40-50g pearl sugar
- Warm the milk to about body temperature and whisk the yeast gently into it. Leave for 10 minutes until it begins to froth
- In a bowl (if you are hand kneading) or into your mixer bowl add: flour, cocoa powder, eggs, vanilla, sugar, butter, salt and water and then also tip in the milk/yeast mixture
- Knead for 10 minutes in your stand mixer until the dough becomes smooth and glossy and still very soft. (If kneading by hand, tip out on to a counter and work for about 14 minutes. It will be tough and messy going but it will eventually come together)
- At this point add in the chocolate chunks and the pistachios
- Leave in the bowl, covered with a clean tea towel, to rise for about 60-75 minutes. It will rise somewhere around half as much again (it won’t fully double in size)
- After the dough has risen, liberally flour a work surface and tip the dough out in to it
- Roll the dough out into a rectangle and (this isn’t strictly traditional but I find it works). Roughly about 40 x 70cm but it’s more important to get a standard thickness than a “correct” size. Roll the dough up using the longest edge into a long Swiss roll shape
- Place all your panettoncini cases out on to a baking tray, so they’re ready
- Chop the roll of dough into twelve or thirteen equal fat discs and gently roll each one into more of a ball shape. As a guide the dough pieces should be roughly 80g each
- Lightly roll each piece into a ball and then pop it into a case, with the smoothest side upwards
- Leave to rise for 20-30 minutes, covered with a clean cloth
- While they are rising for the final time, turn the oven on to 200 C fan oven or 220C conventional oven
- Bake for about 20-23 minutes. You can test with a skewer as you would with a cake
- Leave to cool upright in the cases
- Warm the honey (unless using a very runny honey)
- Brush the tops of the panettoncini with the honey and sprinkle on the pearl sugar
One last thing, should you have any left over, panettone makes an awesome bread and butter-style dessert.