The traditional panettone first touched the lips of thousands in Milan during the 15th century, and the tradition of this much loved cake spread immediately over the world. The word ‘panettone’ derives from the Italian word ‘panetto’ – a small loaf cake – an argumentative name to describe the shape of the cake. It is believed that two Milanese bakers began to produce the panettone to the rest of Italy around the 20th century.
Angelo Motta was an Italian entrepreneur and founder of the food company Motta, who first produced his range of panettone in 1919. He revolutionised the traditional panettone by giving allowing is small domed shape to rise almost three times. Shortly after in 1925 another baker Gioacchino Alemaga adapted the recipe and has his name to the popular brand that is found today.
Panettone is a cupola profile which expands from a cylindrical base. Today, other foundations may be used such as an octagon or star shape. Making the panettone is a measured and extensive process that involves a lot of curing of the dough, which is acidic (similar to sourdough). The proofing method alone takes several days, giving the cake its distinctive ‘fluffy’ features. The cake is typically prepared around Christmas time and New Year.
Commonly panettone is made of candied orange, citron and lemon zest, as well as raisins – which are further added dry and not soaked. In some provinces of Italy, the cake is served with crema di mascarpone which is a cream that is made from mascarpone, eggs and sometimes dried or candied fruits and typically a sweet liquor such as Amaretto.
Interestingly enough, this much loved cakes is trying to obtain the Protected Designation of Origin and Denominacione di origine controllata, however as of yet has not made any progress.
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