Every year one of my Christmas traditions is making panettone in my trusty breadmaker. After waking at the crack of dawn to rip open presents, eating thickly cut slices of panettone spread liberally with butter along with a cup or two of freshly brewed coffee is a must. This year I was stressing about not being able to find pine nuts and candied lemon peel (I sometimes make my own, but they do take a lot of time and I am trying not to be supermum). Then I had a flash of inspiration: why not make a Chinese-style version using some gourmet ingredients I already had in the kitchen.
So I experimented with my Chinese-style panettone. The main inspiration was some amazing Hong Kong produced glace ginger that a friend gifted me. It had been sitting in my cupboard for a while because I was savouring it for a special moment. It is seriously good, the retro Chinese tin hiding amber orbs that when sliced resemble devotional stained-glass windows only with the warmth of ginger: perfect for a Chinese Christmas.
Then I decided to add some goji berries and walnuts (currently one of my favourite combinations), plus some star anise. Apparently anise is traditionally added to panettone from the Lombardy region so in a sense it is not that strange.
I added my goji berries to the breadmaker too early, so they kind of got all mushed up. The result was a saffron coloured and textured bread that almost looked like the golden sun as it rose in the breadmaker (actually, mine rose a bit too much but although it looks a bit lopsided it is still okay.
It smelt fantastic as it cooked, and the bits from the breadmaker paddle/stirrer that I tried tasted excitingly new yet comforting. Perhaps this will become my new recipe and method for making panettone — my new Christmas tradition.
Merry Christmas from Taiwanxifu and family and happy and healthy eating over Christmas.
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup butter
2 medium eggs
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teas grated lemon zest
3 cups bread flour
2 teas yeast
1/3 cup goji berries (aka gouji or Chinese wolfberries)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 whole pieces of glace ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon ground star anise powder (or five spice powder)
- Combine all ingredients in a bread machine and bake on the ‘sweet’ or ‘plain’ setting. Try not to get too hungry as the delicious smell of baking bread wafts through the house.