Prepare the Fruit
Gather the ingredients.
dry raisins, dry fruit, dry cherries, Cointreau on a wood board
Put all the dried and candied fruits into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
cherries and raisins in a large glass bowl, Cointreau in a glass container, dry fruit
Pour in the Cointreau, mix again.
pouring Cointreau in to a large glass bowl of raisins, dry fruit and dry cherries
Cover, and store in a cool dark place overnight. Do not refrigerate.
dried fruit and Cointreau in a large glass bowl, covered with plastic wrap
Prepare the Dough
Gather the ingredients.
Classic Christmas Italian Panettone ingredients, yeast, milk, sugar, flour, water, butter, almonds, salt, eggs
Warm up 5 ounces of the milk to lukewarm temperature. Reserve the remaining ounce of milk in the fridge. In a heatproof jug or bowl, sprinkle the dry yeast over the warmed milk, stir in the sugar, and leave to one side for 5 minutes.
yeast and milk mixture in a white bowl
Tip the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Sprinkle the salt into one side of the bowl. Pour in the frothy yeast mixture onto the other side—salt should never come into direct contact with dry or fresh yeast as it will kill the yeast, making the bread dense and hard.
dry yeast over the warmed milk and sugar in a bowl
Mix the flour, salt, and yeast at slow speed to combine the ingredients. Add 5 of the eggs, turn the mixer to medium speed and continue mixing until the dough smooths out, although it will become sticky.
dough in a stand mixer
Cut 9 ounces of the softened butter into bite-sized chunks. Raise the speed of the mixer and add the butter a few pieces at a time.
butter added to dough in a stand mixer
Let the mixer continue to run for at least 5 more minutes. The dough will turn glossy and even smoother and so soft and airy that it will be impossible to handle. This is the texture that you’re looking for.
dough in a stand mixer bowl
Grease a large baking bowl or dish with 1/2 ounce of the remaining butter. To retain the maximum amount of air, let the dough slide down into the greased bowl by its own weight. Do not force it out.
pouring dough into a glass container
Scrape down any leftover dough with a soft spatula. Cover the greased bowl with a lid or tightly with plastic wrap and put it into a very cool place, preferably the fridge, and leave to proof overnight—the cold, long, slow rise will deliver the lightest of cakes. Slow is always better, and the result is a light and airy cake with a soft crumb.
dough in a glass container covered with plastic wrap
Make the Panettone
Place dough on a floured work surface and spread out into a rectangular shape.
spread out dough on a wood board
Strain the soaked fruits through a fine sieve, discard the juice. Place half of the fruits onto the spread-out dough.
dry fruit spread out on the dough
Fold the dough over the fruits and lightly roll the dough around to evenly distribute the fruit. Spread the dough again and repeat as before with the remaining fruit. The dough will be lumpy and knobbly, but look out for clusters of fruit and give them another roll around to redistribute it, if needed.
dry fruit spread out on top of dough
Form the dough into a roughly shaped ball.
dough with dry fruit shaped into a ball
Grease a 7-inch panettone tin or panettone paper case with the remaining 1/2 ounce of butter. If you have neither of these, use a regular cake tin, but line the base and sides with greaseproof paper standing at least 2 inches above the rim.
Drop the dough into the center of the tin, tuck the almonds into the surface of the cake, and cover loosely with a tea cloth.
panetone dough with almonds on top
Proof the cake in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours until the dough is well risen and rising above the tin. If 3 hours isn’t enough, give it enough time: The key here is to have the rise above the rim of the tin or case.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Mix the remaining egg with the remaining ounce of milk and brush over the surface of the cake. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 300 F and cook for a further 45 to 55 minutes. The panettone is ready when a skewer comes out clean from the middle part of the cake.
brush panetone with egg mixture before baking
Let the cake cool for 5 minutes in the tin on a cooling rack, then remove and leave it to cool completely.