The Italian panettone is neither a myth nor a truth. It is an old Italian tradition that originated in Milan Italy and has been passed down from generation to generation for all to enjoy and savor. It is neither a bread nor a cake. It is a panettone, filled with candied oranges, lemons, bits of chocolate and topped with almonds that makes this Christmas treat a delight.

Giving panettone is not a simple act of kindness but a gesture rich in history and tradition. A slice of panettone and a flute of champagne (or prosecco)… there is no more Italian way to wish a happy holiday season. It’s a ritual in many homes where panettone is a welcomed guest after every meal. But this sweet bread can be enjoyed everywhere, anytime, even at office parties while exchanging gifts or in stores while shopping. Click here for more info.

Prices for panettone can go between $4.99 (for a mass produced one, as sold at Aldi’s) and $18+ for a more, traditional, imported, hand-baked one. I usually get my Christmas panettone at Aldi but this year, along with almost everything else, inventory sold out quickly. The odds of my spending $18 to $25 for a more professional panettone, was totally out of the question. I decided instead to try my hand and bake one of these elegant, delicate, complicated Christmas culinary treasures instead.

Most recipes I looked up stated that in order to make a good panettone, it took between 2 to 3 days (letting the dough raise overnight in the fridge, as well as other techniques). I didn’t have 2 to 3 days. I prefer things more instantly. So, I looked and looked and yes, I did find a recipe from an Italian daughter who swore her Italian grandmother found the secret to making a panettone in 3 hours vs 3 days. Click here for the recipe, but I also post it, in full, down below.

Yes, I was very skeptical. I read the reviews and apparently it looked like the bakers who tried this recipe stated that it really did work. I decided to give it a try. I’ll be honest, I didn’t give it a really good try. I gave it a ho-hum try and much to my surprise, the darn thing really did come out at the end as a real, honest-to-goodness Italian panettone. I was shocked. And I was also shocked I didn’t put much effort in to it. If I had, the darn thing would have come out much better and more authentic (rather than the haphazard risen concoction I baked in my oven).

Who knew?

Well, now I do. And now I pass this good word onto you. The recipe was a big hit. Next year I plan to do a whole lot better. I also can buy the panettone molds directly from Amazon (click here) and get a more professional looking product. To heck with Aldi and all those over expensive bakeries. I have found an Italian panettone light at the end of the tunnel.

Here’s how my first attempt at making a panettone turned out. The skeptical me didn’t bake in the proper pan. I used raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts and pecans as filler rather than either candied fruit or chocolate chips. I didn’t frost the top with almonds as the recipe called for and I over baked it a few minutes much too much. Next year I will do a helleva lot better!

Here’s what the cook author’s authentic Italian panettone should look like, if you follow her recipe to the tee:

I learned my lesson. I’m following orders next year. This recipe is a keeper!!!