A panettone is an Italian sweet bread or fruitcake that is typically served during the holidays. This version—featuring apricots, apricot brandy and dried cranberries—can be eaten any time of the year, for dessert or as a snack.
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
⅓ cup snipped dried apricots
⅓ cup dried cranberries or dried tart cherries, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons apricot brandy, orange liqueur or orange juice
¾ cup fat-free milk
1 package active dry yeast
2¼ to 2¾ cups bread flour
½ cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed or 2 eggs
¼ cup granulated sugar (see Tip)
¼ cup butter, softened
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup yellow cornmeal
⅓ cup chopped almonds, toasted (see Tip)
2 tablespoons flaxseeds
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon water
Powdered sugar (optional)
In a small bowl combine apricots, cranberries and brandy; cover and let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a small saucepan heat milk just until warm (105°F to 115°F). Pour into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast over milk and let stand for 5 minutes or until the yeast dissolves. Add 1½ cups of the flour, ¼ cup of the egg product or 1 of the eggs, the granulated sugar, butter and salt. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed 3 minutes more. Stir in cornmeal, almonds, flaxseeds, undrained apricot mixture and as much of the remaining flour as you can with a wooden spoon. Dough should be just stiff enough to knead.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes). Place in a large greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface of the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double (1¼ to 1½ hours).
Coat a 7-cup panettone mold or 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray; set aside. Or place a 6x4x ½-inch round panettone paper baking mold on a baking sheet; set aside (see Tip).
Punch dough down; shape into a ball. Transfer dough to the prepared pan or mold and flatten slightly to fit shape of pan or mold. Cover and let rise until nearly double (1 to 1¼ hours).
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl combine the remaining ¼ cup egg product or 1 egg and the water; beat together with a fork. Brush over top of loaf. Bake about 50 minutes for panettone pan or mold or 45 minutes for springform pan or until bread sounds hollow when tapped and internal temperature of the bread reaches 195°F to 200°F on an instant-read thermometer. If necessary, cover top of bread loosely with foil the last 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan. Cool bread completely. If desired, sprinkle top of bread with powdered sugar.
Tips: If using a sugar substitute, we recommend Splenda® granular or Sweet'N Low® bulk or packets. Follow package directions to use product amount equivalent to ¼ cup sugar. Nutrition Facts Per Serving with Substitute: Same as below, except 159 cal., 24 g carb. Exchanges: 0.5 carb. Carb choices: 1.5.
To toast whole nuts or large pieces, spread in a shallow baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until golden, shaking pan once or twice.
Paper baking molds are available in specialty or kitchenware stores.