Not Fruitcake! (Daring Bakers Dec. '12 Challenge: Panettone)

For most of my life, my understanding of "holiday bread" was limited to one concept.

The ubiquitous, oddly colored, plastic wrapped and stored in a tin for who knows how long fruitcake.

It wasn't until much later in life, until I started working with yeast and making my own bread, that I came to realize there were other options out there.








It was a revelation.

It was a pleasure to revisit panettone for this month's Daring Baker challenge.

I normally use the recipe from Beth Hensperger's The Bread Bible - a recipe that makes liberal use of Pernod for a slightly anise undertone.

This time around, I left the stand mixer in the pantry and opted to mix/knead this one by hand. I was a little intimidated at the thought of working in all the butter by hand, but a little patience and a bench knife proved to be the right tools for the job.

Mixed tropical fruits and golden raisins were worked in before placing the dough in pans for the final rise. Instead of panettone papers, I used well greased coffee cans - my baking pan of choice for these types of loaves.

This recipe yielded a beautiful crumb - it was wonderful on its own the first few days; the next few days, it was great toasted. The last of it went into Christmas morning's overnight french toast. Perfect, right to the end...

Definitely not the "fruitcake" from my childhood.

Thank goodness!

Now, its time to go and clean up some more of that post-Christmas snowfall that we are in the middle of. White Christmas, indeed...

This post participates in The Daring Bakers.  The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread! Her recipe for this panettone can be found here.


  1. Great job on the challenge, panettone looks beautiful!

  2. Gorgeous job! Your panettone look amazing!

  3. I too only associated fruit cake with those horrible plastic wrapped tins..I am more than happy I no longer do!
    Great job on this challenge Cher

  4. Panettone french toast, oh my!! I agree, there are soooooo many better options than plain old stodgy fruitcake :)

  5. Looks great! And that's an awesome idea to use it for french toast.

  6. I've never tried panettone - both making and eating. On my to eat list!

  7. Your panettone looks delightful. I love how you have sliced it like a loaf - I cut mine into slices like a cake. Hope the snow gives you a break now that Christmas is over!

  8. I'm glad you enjoyed this recipe for panettone - your panettone looks perfect!Delicious to use it for french toast on Christmas morning! My warmest wishes.

  9. Hats off to you kneading this one by hand, and the results look amazing!! Really great job!!

  10. Cher, This looks wonderful…I grew up with Christmas bread! I love panettone…yours looks absolutely perfect!

  11. Beautiful - and your list of holiday breads has just led me on a little Wikipedia journey, and a few others to add to my baking list!

  12. Your Panettone looks beautiful, Cher. And, coffee cans is a great idea. I used to make Panettone but always relied on Bernard Clayton Jr.s' "The Complete Book of Breads". Page 346-348 is dog-earred. I have never looked at The Bread Bible. Which I will do. Great for toast. Better for Fench Toast. Maybe I'll make my own next year. Nice job.

  13. i think i'll have to bake my way through that list of holiday bread! your panettone looks great :)


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