* 1/2 c. seedless golden raisins
* 1/2 c. seedless dark raisins
* 1/2 c. chopped Mission Figs
* 1/2 c. Calimyrna figs, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
* 3/4 c. cognac
* 1/2 c. milk, at room temperature
* 4 tsps. moist yeast or 2 tsps. dry yeast
* 3/4 c. organic all-purpose white flour*
* 9 tbsps. unsalted butter, softened
* 1/3 c. sugar
* 1/2 vanilla bean, halved horizontally, or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
* 2 large eggs, at room temperature
* 4 egg yolks, at room temperature
* 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
* 3-4 c. organic all-purpose white flour*
* 2 tbsps. unsalted butter, melted
Allow 8 hours to soak the fruits. Allow 1 hour to ferment the poolish. Total preparation and baking time (not including fermenting the poolish or soaking the fruits): 7 hours, 15 minutes.
Make and ferment the poolish (allow 1 hour): Combine the milk and yeast in a medium bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until yeast dissolves. Add the flour and stir until the mixture is the consistency of a batter, about 100 strokes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Cover with a clean damp towel or plastic wrap, and put in a moderately warm (74-80° F) draft-free place until it is puffy and domed.
Mix and knead the final dough (20 minutes): Measure the ingredients. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a paddle blade. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 1/2 minutes. Using the tip of a small sharp knife, scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean. Discard the pod. Add the poolish, eggs and egg yolks, salt and vanilla seeds; beat on medium speed 5 minutes, then gradually add 1 c. of the flour. Fit the mixer with the dough hook. Add 2 1/2 c. of the remaining flour and continue beating at medium speed for 10 minutes. Drain the fruit well, if necessary, and add, beating 2 minutes more. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, until smooth and slightly sticky, adding more flour if necessary, about 3 minutes.
Ferment the dough (about 2 1/2 hours): Shape the dough into a ball and place smooth side down in a well-buttered 6-qt. bowl. Turn the dough to coat the top with butter. Take the dough's temperature: the ideal is 78° F. Cover with a clean damp towel or plastic wrap and place in a moderately warm (74-80° F) draft-free place until doubled in volume.
Note: If the dough temperature is higher than 78° F, put it in a cooler than 78° F place like the refrigerator, until the dough cools to 78° F. If it is lower than 78° F, put it in a warmer than 78° F place until the dough warms to 78°F. The point is to try to keep the dough at 78° F during it fermentation. If you do have to move the dough, be gentle and don't jostle it, or the dough may deflate.
Divide the dough and shape into a loaf (about 10 minutes): Deflate the dough by pushing down in the center and pulling up on the sides. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly. Shape into a log.
Proof the loaf (2 to 3 hours): Butter a 10-inch springform pan or panettone pan. Press the loaf into the prepared pan. Cover with a clean damp towel or plastic wrap and put in a moderately warm (74-80 degrees F) draft-free place until the dough rises nearly to the rim of the pan.
Bake the loaf (45 minutes): 45 minutes to 1 hour before baking, preheat the oven and homemade hearth or baking stone on the center rack of the oven to 400° F. Bake 20 minutes. Cover the top loosely with foil and continue baking until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and brush the top with the melted butter. Cool on a wire rack 20 minutes. Gently sprinkle some powdered sugar on top for a nice finish. Unmold and cool completely before serving.