Have you ever had brioche?  It’s an eggy, buttery, milky bread that melts in your mouth. 
Want to make it even better?  How about adding; fruit and lots of chocolate to it?
Yep, that’s pannetone.  A really spectacular bread that is famous all over Italy and for very good reason.  We have this each Christmas morning with lots of champagne and fruit.  Ahhhh…
I’ve made this each Christmas since the very early ’90’s and I could come up with a charming story but honestly I first saw them in a Martha Stewart magazine and have played with the recipe ever since.  I now actually make a scarily large batch of this treat and then HIDE them so that my own family doesn’t eat them all before I can give them to the people who are (now) sort of expecting them.
This recipe makes 12 (you can half or even quarter this recipe if you are not totally nuts)
Take 22 eggs (yes, twenty-two), 2 2/3 cups of sugar and 4 tsp. vanilla.  Mix in your third largest bowl (you’ll need the other two largest later on).
In a small bowl proof; 4 tsp. yeast with 1 1/3 cup of lukewarm water.
In yet another bowl take; 2 cups of warm milk and proof 4 tsp. yeast.
When the yeast is bubbling add the three mixtures together.
In the biggest container that you have rub together (like you would when making pastry); 16 cups flour and 3 cups of butter.

Add; into the flour mixture 8 cups of chopped, dried fruit, 600 grams of roughly chopped chocolate and the zest of 4 oranges and 4 lemons.  Toss so that all these goodies are coated with flour.  If you don’t then the fruit etc. will all sink to the bottom.
Add in your milk, eggs and yeast to the flour and stir like your life depended on it.
Let this mixture rest for 30 minutes.
Get 12 paper lunch bags ready by cutting off the top four inches and then fold over the tops.
Bread mixture ready to go.
Rub the paper bags with butter.
Fill 2/3rds of the way with your batter.
Bake 30 minutes at 330 until a knife comes away cleanly and the tops are browned.  Wrap in clear celephane and pretty ribbon.
Here’s also a pretty drink to have that I mentioned but didn’t off pictures of the other day.  After making pannetone, you deserve it.
For a cute way to wrap them-check out my instagram feed.
A shot of creme de cassis and topped-up by champagne 🙂 

Now that is a happy Christmas.
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