HomeNewsFor Christmas 2023, the panettone visits Pumpkin Tales in Chennai

For Christmas 2023, the panettone visits Pumpkin Tales in Chennai


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Chef Mirko Tognetti raises his knife in the midst of the kitchen’s tense silence.He quickly slices into the fluffy panettone that is scented like oranges and covered with juicy raisins before leaning in to give it a close look. He says, “It’s getting better,” and everyone exhales in relief. After all, the Pumpkin Tales crew has been struggling with this traditional Italian Christmas bread for quite some time.

Chef Chindi Varadarajulu finally brought Mirko to Chennai to lead the team through the procedure after numerous attempts and a trip to Italy so they could debut the bread in time for Christmas this year. “This took 36 hours to make… but it’s worthwhile,” grins Chindi as we sip cups of potent espresso while eating sweet, fluffy slices.

When Chindi attended a course at Mirko’s gelateria in Luca, Tuscany, in 2018, they first got to know each other. Mirko, who is well-known for his pistachio gelato, is also skilled at developing unexpected flavors. In honor of Luca’s summer film festival, he explains, “I make chocolate with a taste of Tuscany cigars.” It has a Clint Eastwood flavor, I tell you! “

But for the panettone, he sticks with tradition. He explains how the flour is mixed with butter, sugar, flour, egg yolks (lots and lots of egg yolks), and Mirko’s sourdough starter, stressing that “the balance is very crucial.” He chuckles, pointing at the meticulously wrapped dough that he bought from Italy, and says, “He’s called Rambo.”

To achieve the distinctive airy, flaky texture of this Christmas bread, the dough must rise three times, swelling to 3.5 times its initial size.

Chindi claims that the entire procedure is difficult and that the team has been monitoring the dough all day and night. “We produce the initial dough and let it ferment until it triples in size. The following day, we add additional fruits, butter, and egg yolks. It must rise for a further 12 to 14 hours after that.

After baking, each loaf is pierced with a skewer. Mirko demonstrates this by taking a batch out of the oven and turning it over so the loaves cool while hanging like fat chandeliers.If we don’t suspend them, they might fall because it’s so light.

There is no doubt that holiday bread takes a lot of preparation. Does it merit it? Mirko declares, “For me, it’s the best bread.” He pauses, thinking, “I must have something to fight; I love when you have to try and do something perfect. Every time I start making panettone, there is a struggle because every dough is different.”

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