Panettone is a typical dessert of the Italian Christmas tradition. It was born in Milan and it is spread all over the world starting from Peru up to Brazil. There are two possible origins of this leavened cake. The first one concerns Messer Ulivo degli Atellani, a falconer in love with the daughter of the baker of the contrada. In order to try to conquer her, he hired himself out as a boy and tried to invent what today is an iconic cake. In this case the ending was happy and the two got married. Thanks to the success of this new bread.
The second version has as its protagonist the cook of Ludovico il Moro. In charge of preparing the Christmas lunch for the entire court, he forgot the cake in the oven and it charred. Desperate, he put his trust in the scullery boy Toni who created a cake with what was left in the pantry. Flour, butter, eggs and candied Venus so famous Pan di Toni or panettone.
From that moment became the sweet of the Christmas tradition of the aristocrats. In the time it spread its popularity to the whole population. Starting from 900 many industrial companies developed in Milan and surroundings some of which still today produce the best panettone at a national level. Since 2005 panettone is protected as a typical Italian cake and it is regulated by disciplinary which safeguards ingredients and preparation.
Panettone is a leavened cake characterized by several leavening phases. A soft and alveolate dough guarantee its lightness, while its ingredients give it a classic flavor. A particular characteristic that distinguishes it from other sweets of the Lombard tradition is the cooling. After cooking for about 50 minutes, the panettone is turned upside down and made to cool by hanging it on the grids to prevent it from losing its leavening. Very often it is glazed with a preparation made of sugar and almonds. The Christmas tradition wants it to be accompanied by a tasty and rich Mascarpone Cream.
First prepare all the ingredients. Remember that to correctly assemble the egg white it must not be cold, it must be brought to room temperature by removing it from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before using it.
First, with a mixer, whisk the egg whites with 40 gr of sugar until stiff.
In a bowl, whip the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until the mixture is thick and fluffy. Add the marsala or rum and mascarpone to the yolks and mix well.
Finally, gently add the whipped egg white, stirring from bottom to top.
Let stand the mascarpone cream in the refrigerator for about 1 hour before serving.
Cut the panettone into slices with a thickness of about 2 cm. At this point you can decide whether to stuff it in its soft version, or lightly toast the slices in a pan with a knob of butter.
Once you have chosen your preference, take a slice of panettone, spread the mascarpone cream and close with another slice. the result will be similar French toast.
This recipe is also great in case the panettone has been open for a few days, losing its freshness. By toasting it slightly in a pan, it returns to its aromatic characteristics, thus avoiding waste.