There are many legends as to the origins of panettone, a sweet bread that is enjoyed during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in Italy. Traditionally, it is made from a sourdough starter and rises at least three times. Often it is in the shape of the cupola at the top of a church with a tall base and fluffy top. It shouldn't come as a surprise that this rich fruit cake is also sold in Provence during the holiday season. It was the Romans who made the region the first Roman province beyond the Alps and called it Provincia Romana, which evolved into the present name. While Provence has been part of France for more than five hundred years, it still retains a distinct cultural and linguistic identity and many native to the region strictly distinguish themselves from "the snooty Parisians"
It is almost impossible to find a gluten-free panettone in Provence and that is why I've tried a couple of recipes. This one turns out really nice!
Gluten Free Sourdough Panettone
500g Gluten Free Flour Mix (make your own: combine 200 grams millet flour, 200 grams rice flour, 200 grams tapioca flour and 1,5 tbsp xanthan gum)
4 tbsp gluten free sourdough starter
100ml Almond milk
200g dried mixed fruit
100g candied peel, finely chopped
2tbsp brandy or rum
1. Place the flour mix, sugar and sourdough starter into the food processor and process briefly to mix.
2. Add the butter and process until it is crumbly.
3. Pour in the eggs and process until it forms a stiff batter
4. Add the dried fruit, candied peel and brandy and pulse briefly to mix.
5. Tip the mixture into a large glass bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to prove for a couple of hours. The dough should be bubbly.
6. Lightly grease a panettone cake tin with butter.
7. Spoon the cake mixture into the tin and smooth the surface. Cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for another hour.
8. When ready to cook preheat the oven to 220C. Brush the top of the cake with beaten egg and bake for 10 minutes, then lower to 180 and bake for another 30 minutes or until it is cooked through.
9. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out and cooling on a wire rack.