Advocate-tested recipe

Panettone (Italian fruit-studded bread)

Makes one 6- to 7-inch loaf. Recipe is by Cynthia L. Nobles. Aside from Italy, Panettone is extremely popular at Christmas in South America, where Italian immigrants introduced the treat and where it’s customarily enjoyed with a cup of hot chocolate.

¾ cup golden raisins, currants or dried cherries

2 tablespoons bourbon, whiskey or rum

2 tablespoons hot water

1 tablespoon dry yeast

2?3 cup lukewarm whole milk

½ cup sugar

3 cups bread flour

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2 egg yolks, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon finely minced fresh orange peel

1 teaspoon finely minced fresh lemon peel

14 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup finely chopped mixed candied fruit

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)

1. Soak raisins in bourbon and hot water in a small bowl for at least an hour and up to overnight. Drain well.

2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine yeast, milk and sugar. Allow to stand 5 minutes.

3. Add flour, whole eggs, yolks, salt, vanilla, almond extract, orange peel and lemon peel and beat with the flat paddle attachment on medium speed 2 minutes.

4. Add butter and beat on medium speed 10 minutes. The dough will be extremely soft and slightly sticky. (Don’t be tempted to add more flour.)

5. Stir in drained raisins and candied fruit. Place dough in a large buttered bowl and cover top completely with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature 2 hours.

6. Punch dough down. Lightly spray a 6- or 7-inch panettone pan or paper mold with cooking spray. Roll dough into a ball and place in mold. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

8. Put an oven rack on bottom third of oven, but not on lowest rung. Preheat oven to 330 F. Brush top of dough with an egg wash made with remaining egg and 1 tablespoon water. Place filled panettone pan on a cookie sheet and bake until deep golden brown, or when a probe thermometer shows an internal temperature of 185 degrees, about 45-55 minutes, depending on the size of the pan. If top browns too quickly, cover with foil. Allow bread to cool completely before slicing. Keeps at room temperature up to a week, and freezes well.