One in a thousand stories: the PANETTONE.
Picture of the traditional panettone
From "Leggende e storie milanesi" by Laura Maragnani
- Franco Fava
Libreria Milanese - La Martinella di Milano
..."THE CEREMONY OF THE STUMP
The traditional panettone milanese, on whose birth the popular fantasy created
fascinating legends transcribed in the pages that follow (in the book), was originally
nothing but a big bread, to the preparation of which had to supervise the owner of house, who,
before the cooking, carved a cross on it with a knife in mark of blessing. The big bread
was then consumed from the family solemnly reunited for the traditional Christmas
ceremony "of the ciocco" (of the stump).
The father, or the head of house, made the mark of the cross, taken a big stump, usually
of oak, laying it down in the chimney, put it under a bunch of juniper and poked
It poured the wine in a goblet, sprayed it on the flames, sipped for first then he
passed it to the other limb of the family that, to shift, tasted it. The father threw then a
coin on the ceppo that flared up and subsequently distributed other coins to the others.
Finally they came presented him three large breads of wheat and egli, with solemn gesture,
cut of it alone a small part, that came put back and preserved until the Christmas successive.
The stump symbolized the tree of the good and of the evil, the fire the work of redemption
of Jesus Christ; the breads, ancestors of the panettone, symbolized the mystery of the Divine
Trinity. From this ancient and evocative tradition we received only two elements:
the belief of the "miraculous power" of the restive of the "pangrande" consumed at Christmas,
and the same "pangrande" in garment of panettone.
It is not the simplest cake.., actually it is the opposite! But, if you wish to try,
here is the less complicated recipe we found.
Ingredients: flour 350 grams, butter 120 gr, sugar 80 gr, yeast 60 gr, raisins 100gr,
candieds (orange and cedar) 60 gr, 4 eggs and a pinch of salt
Preparation: dissolve the yeast in 1/2 finger of just warm water, mix the dissolev yeast with
the flour (100 gr), make a cross shaped cut on the bread and leave to rise raise for about 20/25
minuts coiled in a cloth of wool.
Then mix it with other 125 gr of flour and 2/3 spoons of just warm water.
Once more leave it to raise coiled in the cloth until it will double its volume volume.
Cut the candied fruit in small cubes.
Put the raisins in water for 15 minutes, then dry them.
Dissolve the sugar in a finger of water.
Add to the syrup (sugar and water), beating with a whip, the 4 yolks and approssimately
half of the albumens, then put everything to cook in "bagnomaria" (putting the
container in another one with water in which water is boiling).
Melt 90 gr of butter.
Add the remaining flour, the outer layer of lemon grated, a pinch of
salt and the just warm syrup.
Knead for 15 minutes, adding, if necessary, some just warm water to get a very smooth and homogeneous
Add candieds and raisins, bring the temperature of the oven to 220 Centigrades.
Leave the kneading for 15/20 minutes, to settle.
Butter a sheet of waxed paper for cooking.
Wrap the internal part of a shaped container (high and large cilinder) and put your knead in it.
With a knife cut the top in the shape of a cross.
Put it in the oven and cook for an hour.
After 10 minutes remember to put on the surface of the top the remaining butter.
(Gradually lower the temperature of the oven just the panettone is gaining colour, to avoid to