Black Holly Leaves of Doom
This is definitely the worst thing I've ever produced, the worst thing I've ever pulled from an oven, the worst miscalculation of any recipe I've ever tried.
I'm not wild about a commercial panettone. They are too airy and often with too much undefinable (i.e artificial) flavouring. So I did a lot of talking around and reading about its culture, history and preparation. I went from Paul Hollywood (British Scouser from The Great British Bake-Off) to Carol Field, Marcella Hazan and Pellegrino Artusi et al.
It all seemed like a wank, a procedure aimed at making the cook feel important, admired and loved. Days of angst with three different fermentations and proofing! Rubbish! None of that. I understand pastry, I make brioche with my eyes shut, for me puff pastry replaces yoga.
Instead of making panettone, I decided to make a festive, culturally sensitive, fruit-studded brioche. Culturally sensitive in that I wanted to stay away from any rebukes from my Italophile friends. You know how it goes, add one more mint leaf to a traditional risotto recipe and you'll be banned from the aperitivo for life.
So instead, I ended up with this. What went wrong? It is literally inedible and I use the word correctly. It's as dry as if it had been made a week ago and left un-covered on the bench. Toasted this morning and buttered, it didn't improve and there's not much that can't be fixed with a good buttering.
What do I learn?
What to do with this? Perhaps I'll make Tiramisu but is this allowed with messed-up brioche? I could make a trifle and be careful not to call it Zuppa Inglese. I'll also go buy a panettone.
Apart from pride and ignorance, where did I go wrong?