“Panettone has this terrible rap,” says chef Adam Leonti, who recently opened the Brooklyn Bread Lab in East Williamsburg. He admits to having been a doubter of the sweet Italian Christmas bread himself until his first revelatory bite in the Bergamo restaurant where he once worked. “Our baker spent four days making it,” he says. “This precious loaf came out. It’s like eating cotton candy. It’s got this light air.”
Leonti strives for the same in his panettone, which combines his favorite aspects of the Milanese and Venetian versions with a few personal tweaks. “I definitely white-trashed it up a little bit and put chocolate in it — that good old hit-you-over-the-head kind of flavor idea.” But he adheres to tradition where it counts: “You have to hang it upside down for 24 hours,” he says. “Otherwise it collapses.”
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On the menu at Brooklyn Bread Lab; $50, or $7 a slice; 201 Moore St., nr. White St., East Williamsburg; 718-418-4400. Holiday hours: December 16-23 and 27-30, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Photograph by Bobby Doherty
*This article appears in the November 30, 2015 issue of New York Magazine.