I just can’t seem to stop myself from buying every pumpkin and pumpkin spice item available at Trader Joe’s this season. I attribute this to the fact that I love pumpkin and pumpkin spice, as well as to the fact that I’ve rarely seen so many pumpkin-infused products in one place at one time before. Trader Joe’s went all-out this season, with everything from cookie butter to their unusual Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Panettone. Panettone is a traditional Italian holiday bread, made with a sweet yeast dough that is studded with a variety of dried fruits. It is delicious and one of those treats that you typically only get to have once a year. What makes Trader Joe’s pumpkin version so unusual is, well, the fact that it includes pumpkin at all! The round loaf has the exact same look as a traditional holiday panettone. Instead of featuring a variety of dried fruits and candied citrus, it is instead studded with pieces of candied pumpkin and is filled with a “decadent pumpkin cream.”
The bread has a sweet, buttery aroma with a hint of spice to it. It is soft and there is no shortage of pumpkin once you cut into the loaf. There are pieces of candied pumpkin in almost every bite, and the “pumpkin cream” is distributed throughout the bread so that each slice will have at least one generous dollop of it. The “cream” is has a custardy texture and tastes like pumpkin, rather than like pumpkin pie. In fact, I was very surprised by how much fresh pumpkin flavor was captured by this particular bread. Instead of overloading the squash flavor with spices to give it a pie-like flavor, you can actually taste the pumpkin in every piece. Now, if you are not a particular fan of pumpkin (and prefer, say, the flavor of pumpkin pie to the flavor of the roasted squash), this loaf might not be your cup of tea. If, on the other hand, you enjoy pumpkin in all of its forms, this bread will likely become a favorite and will be a welcome change of pace from pumpkin desserts that are heavier handed with the spice.
You can enjoy your panettone as-is or spread it with butter and give it a light toasting on the stovetop. I would not recommend putting this into the toaster because of the cream filling. You can also use it to make a very pumpkin bread pudding or a delicious panettone french toast.