Please don’t judge me. I have a confession to make… it is the middle of January and I still have half a panettone left.
It is difficult to explain but no one else in my family will eat it, and since I enjoy a slice only at breakfast, lightly toasted, with a cup of tea, there is really only so much one can get through!!
However, it seems, that I may actually be the odd one out here, as there is an entire school of thought that believes panettone is a an inedible passing food fad Are they right? How many of us are actually secretly hiding, unopened or rather large chunks of left over panettone, in the pantry or refrigerator? Or is yours just out in the open, (like mine) taking up square footage on the kitchen counter?
I’m not convinced though, try telling the Italians that panettone is a passing fad! It seems that the original, flatter, and probably much smaller (aka manageable) version has been around since the fifteenth century. Hmmm, five hundred years give or take, it seems like a fairly strong trend to me!
All traditional festive foods have a legend or 10 behind them and my favourite story of the origins of this paradox, of slightly dry yet buttery fruit bread is this one;
“Does the name “Panettone” derive from Pan de Toni? According to tradition, Toni, lowly scullion at the service of Ludovico il Moro, was the inventor of one of the most typical sweets of the Italian tradition. On Christmas Eve, the chef of the Sforza burned the cake prepared for the feast. Toni decided to offer the mother yeast that he had kept aside for himself for Christmas. He kneaded it several times with flour, eggs, sugar, raisins and candied fruit, until obtaining a soft and leavened dough. The result was a great success and Ludovico il Moro called it Pan de Toni to honor its inventor.
Truly generous act on behalf of Toni I think, as I am sure that as a lowly scullion, to be able to make bread and have yeast available for his family, was not a trifling luxury. Secondly, it must have surely been a charitable master to not only name the sweet invention after Toni, but to not send the entire kitchen staff to the gallows for burning the Christmas cake in the first place!! Ha ha, I like it, and I pay due respect to all, who, when faced with dire need, fall back on creative dessert making!
The Italian cultural influence in Melbourne, which peaked with Italian migration back in the late 60’s and early ’70’s really helped give birth to Victoria’s current food and European style cafe culture. You can see the influence in our streets with the number of coffee shops per capita, it is truly astounding to most overseas visitors as to how many coffee machines they can spot in one quiet suburban shopping strip. You can also see it in the basis of so many ‘modern’ Australian menus which have strong Italian foundations. Who would have imagined that the home made antipasti found in the sandwiches of first generation migrant kids, school lunches, would now be routinely served up anywhere you care to eat? Everywhere from lowly cafeteries, to gourmet modern Australian eateries offer such a wide range of ethnically diverse dishes, that it would be strange not to see it on the menu!
It is so universally accepted that Italian cuisine is part if the strong foundation of modern Australian food, that when I recently asked an overseas visitor, “What is your favourite Australian dessert?”, they replied, ” Tiramisu.”
So, here is my recipe that I dedicate to ‘Toni’. I don’t actually know an Italian Toni, but to all my Italian friends, I hope you enjoy my Bliss, Australian take on, enjoying panettone well into January.
I am giving this blissed, ice cream cake, panettone, lovely citrus aromas by using lemon myrtle. Lemon myrtle has a flavour very, very much like lemon grass. It is green and woody with a good citrus kick to it but with none of the acid associated with lemons, so there is only a heightening of the already rich flavours in the panetonne. Lemon myrtle pairs so nicely with white chocolate that it only makes sense to marry them up and serve everything with ice cream! Since no one needs a reason for ice cream; ice cream is my choice for this new Aussie summer dessert. Heston’s recipe, from ‘Heston Blumenthal at home’, seems as good a place as any to start, given the unusual pairings and the nature of this creative dessert, so here is another great culinary genius’ recipe thrown into the Bliss grinder ;P. May be you can serve it for Australia Day? After all, who’s tradition is it anyway?
Panettone and Lemon Myrtle Ice Cream Cake
3 thick slices panettone, cut to the size of a small, loose bottomed cake tin (approximately 6 inch round)
150g 35% cocoa chocolate
1/2 cup whipping cream
Bring cream to boiling point. Add in chocolate, stir occassionally until melted and smooth. Leave to cool and thicken, stirring occassionally (at least an hour).
Lemon Myrtle White chocolate Ice Cream
180g Full Cream Milk
70g Caster Sugar
35g Milk Powder
420g Whipping Cream
90g White Chocolate
1 tspn Lemon Myrtle (or 1/2 tspn lemon zest, if you can’t get Aussie herbs!)
Heat milk, sugar and milk powder over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
Add cream and bring to the boil.
Add white chocolate and lemon myrtle or lemon zest, stirring occasionally until chocolate has dissolved.
Turn on your ice cream machine and churn for about 45 minutes or until the beater can no longer turn.
Work quickly to;
Place a layer of panettone into the botom of your cake tin.
Spoon a layer of ice cream over it, and smooth over with the back of a spoon.
Place second layer of panettone over the ice cream and press down lightly.
Spoon a second layer of ice cream over the panettone, as above.
Place third layer of panettone over the ice cream and press down lightly.
Cover the cake tin in glad wrap and place in the freezer.
When chocolate ganache has cooled to a runny fudge sauce consistency.
Take cake tin out of the freezer and run a knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the ice cream and turn the ‘cake’ out onto a plate.
Pour a generous amount of ganache over the top of the cake and smooth it out towards the edges allowing it to run over the sides of the cake.
Place ‘cake’ back into freezer.
Place remaining ganache into fridge to firm up (at least an hour)
Use a melon baller to scoop little balls of ice cream, and place them onto a cold tray and place ice cream balls back into freezer to firm up.
When ganache has become firm but not hard, use a small spoon or melon baller to scoop spoonfuls of ganache and roll them in Dutch cocoa powder, and keep them in the fridge.
When you are ready to serve, place mini ice cream scoops and ganache balls on top. The panettone is even drier, coming out of the freezer, but in combination with the ice cream and the ganache, it is a great textural compliment and the flavours work beautifully together!
Happy Birthday Australia xxx
If you are enjoying being blissed, please drop me a comment with any feedback or comments! I would love to know what you are enjoying most and what you would like to see more of.
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