Panettone is a sweetened bread from the Milan area that Italians enjoy throughout the holidays. Containing candied citrus and raisins/sultanas, a piece of panettone served with un caffè makes a great afternoon snack. Later, a slice of panettone with a glass of prosecco – or limoncello – is the perfect ending to any meal during this festive season. That’s not the only way to serve this tasty bread, however.
Over the years, I’ve used day-old panettone to make bread pudding and pain perdu (aka French toast, aka eggy bread). In fact, very often I’ll buy a couple of the loaves and place them directly into the freezer. Weeks later, I’ll retrieve one and treat myself to pain perdu on one morning, with some bread pudding on the next. I’m not much of a breakfast person but I really do enjoy “Panettone Week”. What’s not to love? Anyway, since I so often prepare the dishes back-to-back, and the pain perdu recipe is really quite simple, I’m going to share both in one post. I’ll start with Panettone Pain Perdu — for no other reason than I’m a sucker for recipes with an alliterative title.
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Panettone Pain Perdu
This recipe is pretty straight forward. I would caution you, however, from just slicing a panettone and diving in. Always cut and taste a slice before using it as the base for another recipe. First off, it’s delicious, so, why not? Secondly, not all panettone are created equal. Best to learn what flavors you’re dealing with before adding seasonings of any kind.
We’ve all made variations of this dish, so, there’s really no need to give it the “full recipe treatment.” This dish is very much dependent upon your own taste.
Pre-heat your oven to 200˚ F (95˚ C).
First off, get your egg mixture together. I usually plan 1 large egg per slice of panettone. To that, I’ll add a couple of tablespoons of sour cream or Greek yogurt or cream or milk. Too complicated? Grab that container of left-over eggnog and use it in place of some or all the egg mixture just described. Next, spice it up a bit. I like to grate a little nutmeg into the eggs/nog but have been known to add a little cinnamon, as well. Just be sure to taste the eggnog before adding any more spices. Depending upon how sweet your panettone is, you may want to add a little sugar to the mix, too. Now, give it a good whisk and set aside.
Place equal amounts of sliced strawberries – I’ve also used blueberries but any berry will do – and maple syrup in a small pan and heat over a medium heat. Once it begins to boil, reduce heat to a soft simmer and cook for about 5 minutes before turning the heat to very low to keep warm.
Now, for the panettone. You want thick slices, at least an inch-and-a-half (4 cm) thick. Panettone is filled with bits of candied fruit and they may cause thinner slices to fall apart during or after soaking.
While you heat the griddle, frying or cast iron pan, or whatever cooking surface you intend to use, dip each piece of panettone into the eggs/nog. Be sure to evenly coat each side of every slice. Melt a bit of butter on the cooking surface and reduce heat to medium before placing the now egg-soaked panettone into the pan. Cook until golden brown — about 5 to 8 minutes — before flipping to cook the other side. Cook for about 5 minutes more. Place on a platter and keep warm in the pre-heated oven while you cook the rest.
Serve garnished with powdered sugar (optional) and accompanied by a gravy boat filled with the warmed berry-laden syrup.
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For a different take on Panettone Pain Perdu, check out the recipes presented by blogging buddies BAM, of Bam’s Kitchen, and/or David, of Cocoa and Lavender. If you can, take a few minutes to check out each of these 2 wonderful blogs — but eat before you do. You’re gonna be mighty hungry if you don’t.
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Panettone Bread Pudding
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Admittedly, this dish is a little more involved to prepare but don’t let that stop you, Panettone makes a wonderful bread pudding and who doesn’t love to start the day with a bit arancello-flavored sauce?
for the bread pudding
- 16 oz (450 g) panettone, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes
- ½ c (100 g) dried cranberries
- ½ c arancello + 1 additional tbsp — Grand Marnier may be substituted
- 4 whole eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup half-and-half
- pinch of salt
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- zest of 1 orange
- butter cut into chunks
for the orange sauce
- 1 stick (½ cup, 113 g) butter
- ⅓ c sugar
- arancello reserved after soaking the dried cranberries in Step 1 — ¼ to ⅓ cup
- juice of 1 orange
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 egg, beaten
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- At least 30 minutes before you begin, combine the dried cranberries in a bowl with 1/2 cup of arancello. Once fully soaked and needed in the recipe, drain and be sure to reserve the excess arancello for use in the orange sauce – Step 15.
- Liberally butter a 9 X 13″ (23 X 33 cm) baking dish.
- In a large mixing bowl, add 1 tbsp arancello, the eggs, and sugar. Whisk to dissolve the sugar.
- To the same bowl, add the heavy cream, half-and-half, salt, nutmeg, and orange zest. Mix until fully combined.
- Spread an even layer of the cubed panettone into the prepared banking dish.
- Drain the cranberries, reserving the liquid for use in the orange sauce. Sprinkle the cranberries over the top of the bread cubes in the baking dish.
- Give the custard mixture one last whisking before pouring it over the contents of the baking dish.
- Cover the dish with foil and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or overnight.
- Once the dish has rested, pre-heat the oven to 350˚ F (175˚ C).
- Remove the foil cover and place the baking dish in an even larger pan on the oven’s center rack.
- Pour hot water into the larger pan until it reaches halfway up the side of the baking dish. Do not allow any water to get into the baking dish.
- Tent the larger pan with foil. Cut a few holes in the foil to vent any steam that may develop.
- After 30 minutes, remove the foil tent.
- Continue to bake the pudding until the custard is set and the top is browned — about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Pull from the oven, remove from the water bath, cover with foil, and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- While the pudding rests, prepare the orange sauce.
- In a small sauce pan over medium heat, add the butter, sugar, arancello, orange juice, and salt. Stir and heat until the sugar is melted and the sauce fully heated.
- In the bowl containing the beaten egg, stir the egg as a few tablespoons of the heated sauce is added. (This will temper the egg.)
- Once tempered, add the eggy mixture to the sauce, whisking all the while to prevent the egg becoming scrambled.
- Once fully incorporated, continue to whisk the sauce until it thickens — 2 to 3 minutes. Do not allow to boil.
- Bring the bread pudding to the table and drizzle a little of the orange sauce atop each serving.
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As mentioned earlier, no need to make a batch of arancello. Grand Marnier, an orange-flavored liqueur, may be substituted. For those with children or avoiding alcohol, substitute fresh orange juice for the liquor.
Add 1/4 tsp almond extract if using dried cherries instead of the cranberries
Cooking times may vary depending upon the depth and overall size of the baking dish.
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It’s déjà vu all over again …
If you liked today’s eggy dishes, how about another? Although we call it Eggs in Purgatory, Uova in Purgatorio, a number of nationalities have their own version and name for the dish. In its simplest form, eggs are cooked in tomato sauce and served. Sound easy? That’s because it is. You can read all about it when you click HERE.
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Coming soon to a monitor near you …
This Year’s Birthday Dinner: Eggplant Lasagna
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