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Saffron Panettone with Apricots and Almonds

  • Author: Adapted from Bon Appetit, Feb 2006
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 mins
  • Yield: 10 1x


This new-school take on traditional Italian panettone has a beautifully pillowy texture and a delicate crumb on the inside, plus that trademark buttery-yellow colour that comes from even the smallest pinch of saffron.


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp crumbled saffron threads
  • 4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup diced candied orange or lemon peel
  • 1 cup chopped apricots
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds


  1. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, bring milk, cardamom pods and saffron to a simmer. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes, or until the saffron has thoroughly infused the milk.
  2. Strain milk mixture into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let stand for about 10 minutes, or until yeast is dissolved and mixture is foamy. Stir in remaining sugar, along with butter, eggs and salt.
  3. Add 2 cups flour, and stir until smooth. Gradually stir in another 2 cups of flour along with citrus peel and apricots, working until a soft dough starts to come together.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Knead until dough is soft, smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes), adding up to 1/2 cup more flour as needed to keep from sticking. Place dough in a large, lightly oiled mixing bowl. Cover with a clean dishcloth, and place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
  5. Lightly butter two 8" paper panettone molds. Punch down the dough and turn out onto a work surface. Divide dough into two equal-sized pieces, and work each one into a ball. Place a ball of dough, seam side down, into each of the prepared molds. Cover loosely with a clean towel, and place in a warm draft-free spot to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  6. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.
  7. In a small bowl, stir together milk and 2 tbsp sugar. Brush top of each loaf with milk and sugar mixture, then sprinkle with almonds.
  8. Bake in preheated oven until loaves are golden brown and tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Set the loaves on a wire rack to cool for about 30 minutes before serving.
  • Prep Time: 3 hours 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Category: Breakfast