Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
In a shallow dish, soak the raisins, apricots, and candied fruit in the liqueur, covering the dish but stirring through occasionally, at least 30 minutes or overnight. Toast the nuts in a frying pan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until they begin to color and become fragrant, about 7 minutes. Pour them out of the pan and set aside.
Heat the milk in a saucepan or microwave - just until it is warm (100 to 115 degrees F.). Pour the warm milk and the 1/4 cup of warm water into a large bowl. Sprinkle on the yeast, then stir in the 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Wait about 5 minutes, until the yeast is foaming actively, then add 1/2 cup of the bread flour, stirring until smooth. Cover loosely and let stand 30 minutes.
Stir in the melted butter, the 1/2 cup of sugar, salt, eggs and egg yolks, orange zest, and the remaining 1 cup of bread flour. Stir well. Add the all-purpose flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition, until dough gathers and begins to pull away from the bowl.
Knead a few minutes on a floured board or in the bowl, adding flour if needed, until dough is soft, smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball. Wash and oil the bowl, turn the dough in the bowl to oil all over, cover loosely and set in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured board for a minute or so, then return it to the bowl for a second rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the panettone pans: The best choice is two empty 23-to 26-ounce coffee cans (the old 2 pound size).
Grease the inside (careful of the underside of the rim) cut a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom, grease one side and set it in place, greased side up. Cut a sheet of parchment paper 8 inches wide (enough to stick up above the coffee can about 2 inches) by 18 inches long (long enough to completely line the side plus 2 inches of overlap). Grease one side and set in place, ungreased side against the can, and unwind it so it fits against the can. Paper-clip or pin the top so the paper is held at that diameter. Pull it out, fasten it at the bottom too, and put it back in.
Lacking coffee cans, look for something else cylindrical, oven-safe, 5 to 6 inches in diameter and deep - maybe a small souffle dish? What you find will probably be too shallow, so the parchment will have to stick up well above the top of it. Proceed as above, but fasten it in the middle in addition to the top and bottom. To strengthen the part above the dish, wrap a doubled sheet of foil around the outside and tie it with string near the top of the dish.
Drain the fruit, reserving the liquid. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, pat it into a large rectangle and sprinkle with half the fruit and half the nuts. Starting from a short side, roll the dough up and tuck the ends under. Pat the roll into a large rectangle again (flour the board again if necessary), sprinkle with the remaining fruit and nuts and roll up again. Knead a few times, turning exposed seams inside the ball of dough, and divide in two. Shape each half into a round-topped loaf a little smaller across than the prepared pans, pulling the top surface of each tight.
Put each ball into a prepared pan (make sure it's all the way to the bottom, not stuck on the paper) and let rise about 1 1/2 hours.
Lower an oven shelf to make room for the tall loaves and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Make sure the risen dough in each pan has not caught on the bottom of the paper collar and lifted it. If it has, free the stuck place with a knife and fit the collar back down.
Cut an X in the tops if you like, then bake for 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. and bake about 25 minutes more (longer if loaf is wider), until the tops are golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the loaves 5 minutes in the pans, then remove and set upright on racks.
Combine the reserved fruit liquid with water to total 1/4 cup. If it's gone, combine 2 tablespoons of anise liqueur and 2 tablespoons of water (or mix 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon anise extract). Put the liquid in a small saucepan and stir in the 3 tablespoons of sugar. Heat, stirring, just until the sugar dissolves. Brush the hot loaves all over, twice if there's enough liquid, and let stand to cool and dry completely. If keeping before serving (up to a week), wrap tightly in plastic or foil.
Slice thinly and serve.
Source: From my dear friend, Beverly
By Jodi from Aurora, CO
By Robin from Washington, IA
This moist and flavorful bread has been served in our home on Christmas morning for many years, and our grown sons consider "Christmas bread" one of our important family traditions. The origins of this particular recipe are obscure - it is hand written in the back of a cook book published by, oddly enough, Vincent Price in 1965 and is on the next page after my grandmother's recipe for fruit cake. I've seen similar Scandinavian recipes over the years, all of which include cardamom seeds. It is made only at Christmas in our home, but certainly would be a welcome at any breakfast. This recipe is for six loaves. The baked loaves freeze well and when wrapped in foil and heated in a 325 degree oven are almost as good as when freshly baked. We enjoy giving the extras to neighbors on Christmas morning, but the recipe can easily be halved.
Dissolve yeast in the water and cover with a dish towel until bubbles appear. Mix sugar, eggs, salt, milk, butter, cardamom seeds and approximately 1 cup of flour and beat until soft. Add yeast and the remainder of the flour and knead until firm and smooth (Joanne uses the dough hook on her mixer, but certainly it can be done by hand).
In a bowl covered with a towel, let dough rise until doubled in size. Turning your oven on for a minute or two will warm it slightly and the dough will rise well in the oven. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
To shape, divide dough in half and divide each half into thirds, providing dough for six loaves. Divide each loaf's dough into thirds, and roll each third on the work surface into "ropes" of equal length (they will be about 12 inches long). Place the three ropes together and braid into a single loaf. Place each loaf onto a buttered baking sheet, cover and let rise until doubled. The bread can be baked at this time or the dough can be covered with towels, refrigerated overnight and baked the next day.
To bake, pre heat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush each loaf with the egg wash and sprinkle with the sugar and almond slices. Bake 25 - 35 minutes until they are nicely colored. The bread tastes best warm and can be reheated in foil. Although several steps are required in this recipe, it is not difficult. Sharing the rolling out of the dough and the braiding of the loaves with children is fun and may start a new holiday tradition in your family.
Mix dry ingredients. Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs. Add flour mixture alternately with applesauce. Fold in cherries, nuts and extract. Pour into 2 greased 9x5 inch loaf pans.