Did someone give you a panettone this year for Christmas? Or have you been buying them for yourself all season and eating slices every morning for breakfast? Some people love them, some people hate them, but panettone seems to me an essential part of the holidays. I just love that impressive dome shape and the light consistency of the bread studded with raisins and all sorts of candied fruit.
I am happy to simply eat lightly toasted slices of panettone at breakfast with my cappuccino. I don't think panettone needs butter or jam, it is just fine the way it is. But what if you want to do something special with your panettone? You could make French toast with your panettone, and it would be quite tasty. But my favorite way to gild the lily, so to speak, is to make panettone bread pudding. Mine is fairly simple but completely indulgent and rich. Just right for a New Year's Eve dinner or even just to celebrate the fact that you have an extra panettone sitting around.
Panettone Bread Pudding
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1 vanilla pod, cut in half and seeds scraped out
Zest of one orange
4 large eggs
3/4 cup superfine sugar (if you can’t find superfine sugar you can make it by running granulated sugar in your food processor until it is powdery)
1 Panettone, cut into thick slices
A little powdered sugar to garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Heat the milk and the cream in a saucepan just to boiling. Add the vanilla pod and seeds along with the orange zest to the pan and remove from the heat.
3. Beat the eggs and sugar with a whisk until light and fluffy. Remove the vanilla bean from the milk/cream mixture and then whisk it a little bit at a time into the egg mixture.
4. Dip the slices of Panettone into the egg custard mixture and place into a deep buttered baking dish until it’s full and pour a little more of the custard on top. You may have extra Panettone and/or custard, depending on the size of your dish. I’ve used a 2 quart dish in the past and had leftover Panettone (which I happily eat as toast the next morning). Before putting it in the oven place in a roasting pan and pour boiling water to about halfway. This will keep it extra moist and delicious, but I have skipped this step a few times and the results were still fine.
5. Bake for about 45 minutes (or until the sight and smell drive you wild!). It should have a nicely browned crust but be very tender and soft inside. Serve with a little powdered sugar sprinkled on top.
Serves about 8