Panettone Persistence

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. ❤️

Hungrygaal and my dear friend Dina Nazmy for helping me get some bits and pieces from overseas. 🙏🏽

Abdallah Rushdi; my mentor, for helping me set up my first flash photography shoot.

Mariam Hamdy & YasmeensKitchenDiary; for always being such an inspiration. Your art direction makes me dream of endless possibilities in my work.

Last but not least, major thanks to all the family and friends who have tasted and critiqued the failed attempts. 🙂

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