After giving a 3-minute speech in a selfie video on social media about how nothing can stop you from achieving your goals in 2021, I seem to have inspired myself in the process.
This year I wanted to bake and photograph a Panettone. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s an Italian crossbreed between brioche and fruit cake. Traditionally, Panettone is made in 3 days and after it is baked in its special paper mold, you need to immediately hang the whole cake upside-down and leave it to cool completely (for several hours).
This year (and part of last year) I was experimenting with making a Panettone in one day! And I found quite a number of recipes that claim to have accomplished that. However, we live in a country where making Panettone at home is as absurd as going skinny dipping in the icy waters of Antarctica. Doable.. but not for the faint of heart. Be prepared for a lot of DIY! First of all here’s a list of things that you absolutely need to make Panettone and cannot (easily) get in Egypt:
- Fresh yeast
- Panettone flour
- Candied orange peel
- Pearl sugar
- Panettone mold
- Panettone suspension skewers
In the spirit of ‘nothing can stop me’, I decided to find and create my own substitutes from scratch:
- Sourdough starter
- Pizza & bakery flour
- Homemade candied orange peel
- Homemade pearl sugar
- Baking paper cylinder with card base and a pastry ring around them to hold everything together
- BBQ/Satay bamboo skewers
I started attempt #1 in the first week of December and I have made five batches so far. It takes a whole day of work to produce one cake. Only two of them ended up remotely resembling the authentic stuff. So maybe by next Christmas I will have perfected a recipe to share with you all. For now, please watch and enjoy.
Seeing how hard it was to work on this project and produce the final shot in my studio, I would like to to give credit to a lot lovely, helpful resources that made it possible…
Suzanne Sabah, who led me to Halawa who led me to DiverBaker (thank you guys!); the God of Panettone in Egypt! I can’t thank you enough for following me and communicating with me along this journey. I hope to impress you with a good Panettone soon!
Crease That Sheet; for the most amazing DIY Christmas ornaments ever!
Blaze; for the lovely 12 Days of Christmas campaign and collaboration with the crafty Crafts n’ Creations and also the one and only Wrap & Seal. I am genuinely in love with the quality of your cards and wax seals. ❤️
Abdallah Rushdi; my mentor, for helping me set up my first flash photography shoot.
Last but not least, major thanks to all the family and friends who have tasted and critiqued the failed attempts. 🙂