Panettone la Veneziana is a handcrafted specialty at Emporio Rulli, Gary Rulli’s Italian pastry shop and café in Larkspur, California. “Traditionally, it’s served on New Year’s Eve, with sparkling wine,” says Rulli. But this bread is too good to save for just one night. “Now, even in Italy, people eat it for breakfast, with cappuccino, with tea…anytime.”
Gary portions and shapes the panettone dough (photo below), which is enriched with egg yolks and butter and studded with candied orange zest. Unlike most bakers, Rulli leavens his panettone with a natural starter, or “mother,” which creates deeper flavor, a more open crumb, and a longer shelf life.
Paper collars give the breads extra lift: With its rich topping, La Veneziana needs additional support as it bakes for the best rise. Cooling the breads upside down helps them keep their shape. “Even without the topping, breads made from dough this rich would collapse if we didn’t invert them,” says Rulli.
A topping of almond paste, coarse sugar, and toasted almonds is the crowning touch. This luscious top crust is what sets Panettone La Veneziana apart from any other panettone.