Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Panettone Bread Pudding

Christmas time is here! While for the last week up here in the Bay Area you would barely know it (I was sitting outside yesterday and actually got too hot for my long sleeved shirt) the Christmas season is in full swing. No doubt your schedules, much like mine, are packed with holiday gatherings. This last Friday we had our Christmas gathering of all of our girlfriends and I took advantage of the opportunity to introduce them to my new favorite holiday treat, Panettone Bread. While I have seen it sold for years I was never quite sure what it was or if I would like it. I had always imagined this Italian Christmas bread filled with raisins and Citron pieces as being very dense (having never actually seen one out of the box this was a sort of silly assumption). But the other day while browsing around Whole Foods I decided to give one of their little personal sized ones a try. Let's just say- it rocked my world. Light and almost flaky inside this bread is not too sweet and the raisins and citron burst with flavor, I was instantly in love. I began searching for recipes to make it on my own for my holiday blog post but soon hit a snag. Making panettone from scratch is a full day ordeal which requires a standing mixer and a warm kitchen, neither of which I have. Hmmm... what to do instead? Why make bread pudding from the store bought Panettone of course! So with the help of the ever amazing Epicurious I was able to make this delicious treat. Panettone is an excellent bread style for bread pudding since it has natural sweetness and the ability to absorb the custardy mix. This dessert (or breakfast as I plan to serve it to my family Christmas day) is full of flavor has great texture and warms the soul. Hopefully your family and friends will enjoy it as much as we did!

Panettone Bread Pudding
Courtesy of Gourmet Magazine January 2009, via Epicurious

1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup brandy, heated
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 pound panettone, sliced 1 inch thick
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Accompaniment: lightly whipped heavy cream

Soak raisins in hot brandy 15 minutes, then drain (I actually skipped this step, I felt the Panettone had enough raisins on it's own and didn't want to buy a whole bottle of brandy just for this)
Meanwhile, butter panettone on both sides and cook in batches in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until golden brown on both sides.

Tear panettone into bite-size pieces and spread evenly in a buttered 13-by 9-inch baking dish.
Whisk together remaining ingredients. Scatter raisins over top of the bread pieces, then pour in egg mixture. Let stand 30 minutes.                 (When I make this Christmas day I plan to pour the mixture over the torn pieces in a large bowl and toss them first before putting them in the baking dish so it more evenly absorbs the custard mix)
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Bake until pudding is golden and just set, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.                                                              Cooks' note: Bread pudding can be made 2 days ahead and chilled. Reheat before serving.                                        
You could serve this with whipped cream (as they suggested and I did here) or for a breakfast with Maple Syrup! Making your own whipped cream is much easier than you think, just get the small carton of heavy whipping cream, pour it in a nice big bowl (one with tall sides is better as it keeps it from splattering) add a Tablespoon of vanilla extract, and 3- 5 Tablespoons of powdered sugar (it all depends on how sweet you want it I like mine only lightly sweetened) just beat with a hand mixer on high until it starts to form "stiff peaks" (basically- till it looks like whipped cream, thick and more solid seeming than liquid) about 5 minutes

I love sharing new things with my friends and family and this was a great holiday dish for just that. You can find a large 1 lb Panettone at select Trader Joe's right now for only $5 so make this dish soon before it is out of season and you have to wait till next year!! Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

  1. This was SO delicious! Thanks so much for making it for our Christmas breakfast. I think we would all agree that we would like it to be a new Christmas tradition!