Christmas in Italy is one of the most important Catholic holidays in the world, waiting impatiently for the whole year, and a traditional Panettone kulich is a must, which means “a big piece of bread”. It sounds like Panetun in Italian. Without this traditional Milanese pie, no Christmas in an Italian family is possible.
The recipe for an ancient dessert was invented more than 500 years ago, and still remains the same: yeast, flour, sugar, butter, raisins and candied fruit. In some regions of Italy, cake is served with sweet liqueurs or mascarpone cream.
There are several legends about how this traditional dessert was born and how it was called. I suggest you get acquainted with the most interesting of them.
The traditional panetton pie was invented by Tony, an assistant chef in the kitchen of Louis Moreau. On Christmas Eve, the head chef of a noble family mistakenly burned the pie he had prepared for the feast. Then Tony sacrificed a piece of dough that he had set aside for himself, adding to it everything he found in the kitchen: candied fruit and raisins, flour and eggs, and kneaded the dough into a cylindrical form. Having no other choice, the chef decided to serve the baked dessert to the table, and, hiding behind the wall, remained to observe the reaction of the guests. The bread was so fragrant, lush and delicious that all the guests liked it very much, and Duke Moreau immediately sent him to find out what was the name of the dessert and who made it. The confectioner, he said it was Pan del Toni pie.
Now the panetton is a symbol of Christmas, which everyone brings with them as a treat, going to visit.
Serve panettone in sliced vertical pieces with sweet wine or liqueur and mascarpone cream. Bake a real panetton only for experienced pastry chefs, as its production is a very time-consuming process, which takes about 3 days.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Milanese bakeries began to produce paneltone industrially, so the pie gained popularity throughout Italy, and not only.
The birth of the tradition of celebrating Christmas with panetton dates back to the Middle Ages, when this “bread of luxury” was allowed to try only on the Christmas holiday. In the second half of the fifteenth century, there was a custom to celebrate the “ritual of logs”, when in the evening of December 24, in the fireplace put log, and the table was served three panettones as a sign of the Trinity. Everyone present was cut off by the head of the family with a slice of pie, which was of great value. And one scrap was left for storage as medicinal bread until February of the new year.
One of the best companies in the production of pantone is considered to be Vergani, which since 1944 has followed the ancient recipes and traditions in the preparation of pie, while maintaining its true taste.
The secret of the real panetton is its quality ingredients and the mixture of the dough itself, which takes about 73 hours to complete.
That’s how the oldest tradition came to this day.
How to turn a ready-made panetton bought at a supermarket into a real original dessert, read here.