For many, panettone is a staple of Christmas celebrations. It is a lightly sweetened yeast bread that is traditionally served around Christmas in Italy. The bread is rich with butter and eggs, and is packed with dried fruits and candied citrus. The fluffy texture, as well as its sweetness, put it somewhere between a bread and a cake. The beautifully packaged breads also make popular gifts for friends and coworkers, and many people end up with two or three around the house in addition to one that they bought themselves. The breads can be sliced and eaten plain, but once you have more than one you’re going to start to wonder what else you can do with them. Here are five ideas that will let you use up that leftover Panettone:
- Toast – It may sound simple, but panettone makes wonderful slices of toast that make a great addition to any breakfast. The flavors in the already buttery bread are enhanced by toasting, and the sweetness is brought out of the dried fruits, too. Spread toasted slices generously with butter (and even sprinkle with sugar if you’re looking for a sweet treat) before serving.
- Panettone French Toast – Another take on toast, french toast is a good way to use up any extra bread that you might have in your kitchen. The rich bread makes an excellent base for the eggy batter and makes a very indulgent french toast recipe. I like to add a pinch of cinnamon to my batter, as it goes very well with the citrus in the panettone.
- Eggnog Bread Pudding – Eggnog is another common leftover from the Christmas holiday. Combining eggnog and panettone into this decadent dessert allows you to really clear out your kitchen. The bread pudding is easy to make, and with the vanilla-nutmeg flavor of eggnog and all those flavorful fruits from the panettone, you will get a lot of holiday flavor in each serving.
- Streusel-Topped Baked French Toast – This breakfast casserole dish is a cross between french toast, bread pudding and coffee cake. It’s great for serving a big crowd and will use up a lot of extra bread (panettone or otherwise). The dish is rich and custardy, but eggier than a regular bread pudding, and it is topped off with a sweet, buttery streusel before baking.
- Rum Cake – Some panettones are spiked with a bit of amaretto or other liqueurs. If you have a whole loaf of the stuff to use up, poke some holes in it with a long skewer and generously douse it with a rum-sugar syrup (amounts vary, but 1 cup rum with 1/3 cup sugar is a good place to start). Allow the bread to sit for a day or two – well-wrapped – to soak it all up, then serve slices of the extra-moist cake as a festive treat at New Year’s.
Panettone is a popular cake around Christmas time, but what to do with a leftover loaf when the holidays are over? The easiest answer is slice it up and make french toast. You can do this with the big loaves and the miniature loaves, and it might be worth making a trip to the store to get a post-holiday panettone just to serve it up for breakfast. I would opt for the large loaves if you want to serve a crowd and get a miniature one (which is what I used for the picture above) if you just want to indulge yourself.
Slice the bread to the thickness of regular sandwich bread, the prepare the egg and milk mixture as you would for ordinary french toast. Panettone has a sweet, buttery flavor and is studded with raisins, currants, candied citrus and other dried fruits. I didn’t add any sweetener to the egg and milk mixture in this recipe because the panettone is so flavorful on its own. It’s a bit like using cinnamon-swirl bread, where you want to be able to savor the flavors in the bread because they’re great to start out with.
Serve this with maple syrup or honey and you can enjoy a bit of the holidays long after the holidays have past.
At just about all specialty food stores, as well as a good number of regular supermarkets, you’re going to find elegant boxes of panettone available around the holidays. The boxes are always adorned with illustrations of what’s inside, but an illustration is never as good as actually seeing the product. Panettone is a somewhere between a bread and a cake in taste, a sweet yeasted bread that is traditionally served around Christmas in Italy.
The dough for panettone is quite rich and contains plenty of butter and eggs. The addition of all the fat to the dough gives it a very fine, tender texture. It can also weigh the dough down, so the bread is given a very long rise to ensure that it is fluffy, not dense, and rises up very high. Traditionally, the bread is baked in octagonal or hexagonal pans, but just about any shape or size can be used. I’ve even used a bundt pan before! Aside from the butter and eggs, most of the flavor of the panettone comes from the add-ins. The most traditional have dried fruits, candied citrus, lemon and/or orange zest and may be doused with amaretto before serving. These days, there is some more variety, and you might see chocolate chip panettone, or panettone soaked in rum for something a little more grown-up.
The bread is said to have originated in Milan at least 500 years ago, but wasn’t widely produced until the early 1900s. Milanese bakers began to bake the breads in large quantities and distributed them all over Italy. The breads were a hit and panettone took off, becoming a staple where it once was a specialty.
Panettone is a sweet yeast bread that originated in Milan, Italy. Served most often at Christmas, though it is also baked for other occasions, the tender bread is baked as a tall round (either a cylinder or an octagon) and filled with things like raisins, candied citrus and nuts. Sometimes the bread is spiked with a bit of rum or another liquour, or else the fruits might be soaked in it before being added to the bread. It is good eaten plain, but if you want to get fancy it can be made into a decadent version of french toast or bread pudding.
Really rich doughs, heavy in butter and eggs, are often sticky and require more rising time than other yeast breads, but it is no more difficult to make panettone than other yeast breads. The only thing you may actually need – other than a bit of practice – is a special mold to shape your loaf in.
But I don’t need a special pan that is used for baking only one loaf of bread and, even though I like working with yeast bread doughs, I certainly don’t want to spend more time in the kitchen around the holidays than with my friends and family. So, I adapted a recipe for a bundt-pan babka into a no-knead, quick rising Bundt Panettone.
The panettone comes out in a ring, which is somewhat untraditional, but tastes delicious. It is quite sweet and very, very tender – nearly cake-like – in texture. It can be toasted, but pairs perfectly with coffee on its own. I opted to only use raisins because I am not a fan of candied fruits in bread, but I had some large pearl sugar (substantially larger than even coarse organic sugar and available in Swedish and specialty baking stores) that I stirred into the dough before baking. After being baked, the bread is lightly soaked in a sugar-rum syrup to make it extra-moist and give it a final flavor boost.