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Panettone is a sweet bread originally from Italy that is traditionaly made at this time of the year. There are many legends and folktales behind the bread “panettone.” The one I’m familiar with is by Tomie dePaola in his picture book Tony’s bread. The story is about Tony, a bread baker from a small town who dreams of becoming the best baker in Northern Italy. A rich young nobleman from Milano falls in love with Tony’s daughter Serafina and offers Tony the opportunity to fulfill his dream. To meet Milano standards, Tony invents a rich bread made from eggs, honey, and milk, filled with raisins and candied orange, and baked in flower pots. The new bread is a hit and is named after its inventor: panettone (pan de Toni), or “Tony’s Bread.” The picture book introduces some Italian vocabulary and cultural sites in Milano. More importantly, it inspires the baking of panettone. Before getting to that, I recommend making the candied orange. It is easy to do, and homemade candied orange adds tons of flavor from a peel that we often just throw away. But, if you use store-bought candied fruit, you may enhance the taste by adding the zest of two oranges to your bread dough ingredients. Candied orange ingredients: 1 naval orange. 1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for rolling. 1 cup water (you’ll also need more water for blanching). Cut tops and bottoms off the orange. Cut the orange’s skin into four quarters, then remove the peel. Cut each quarter into 1/4-inch wide strips–you should have a dozen or so. Now it’s time for the blanching. Put the orange peel strips into a saucepan and cover with water, bring to a boil over high heat for 3 minutes, then pour off the water and rinse the peels with cold water. Do this three times. Now transfer the orange peel strips to a non-stick pan. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup water and gently mix everyting together. Bring to boil, then turn down the heat to simmer until the water has almost evaporated. Pick up the peels one by one and place them on a rack, immediately begin rolling them in sugar, then return them to the rack. Let the orange peel strips dry for a couple hours. Cut each orange peel strip into small pieces to form little cubes, then toss them again in sugar. Panettone bread dough ingredients: 3 cups all-purpose flour. 1/2 cup warm milk. 1/2 cup warm water. 1/4 cup sugar. 1 tablespoon honey. 1 package of active dry yeast (1/4 ounce). 3 egg yolks at room temperature, plus 1 for egg wash. 1 stick unsalted butter cut in 8 pieces and softened, plus additional for buttering baking dishs. 1/2 cup candied orange. 1/2 cup raisins. Mix together yeast, milk, water, sugar, honey, and 1 cup of flour in a mixer bowl. Sprinkle with 1 cup of flour until the wet mixture is entirely covered. Let rest for 20 minutes. Add the rest of the flour and the egg yolks, and beat at slow speed until combined, then increase speed to medium for 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low, then incorporate the softened butter, a few pieces at a time. Increase speed progressively to high until dough is silky and sticky. Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise for 1 hour in a warm place. After 1 hour, incorporate candied orange and raisins to the dough. This can be done in the mixer or by hand. If you’re doing this with kids, you may want to divide the dough in 4 or more patties, depending on the size of your baking dishs. Then let little hands work the candied orange and raisons to the dough (My littlest doesn’t like raisins, so he left those out). When done, gently scoop each patty into a baking dish. Bring the dishes close to each other and cover them loosely with a warm, wet towel. Let the dough rest and rise for one hour. Before baking, preheat oven to 350°F. Gently brush top of dough with egg wash, and put the dishes into the oven for 30 minutes. Buon Appetito!