Panettone is a traditional Italian cake or sweet bread that is made in a similar way to sour-dough bread. Orange peel, lemon peel and zest, together with sultanas or raisins are usually added; although it is quite common to see other varieties that have chocolate or hazelnut. Originating from Milan in the 1910′s, the classic way of eating panettone is to dip a torn chunk into hot coffee or hot chocolate. I must confess, I am dipping a slice of panettone into my coffee as I write this recipe.
You could think of this as a bread and butter pudding, but I don’t butter the panettone, nor do I add jam – it simply does not need it. I prefer this option to the classic bread and butter pudding – it seems to be less stodgy and the aroma of the orange and lemon works its way through to offer a very different taste. That said, I adore bread and butter pudding.
1/2 panettone, approximately 300g
4 tblspns castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
3 tblspn demarera sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C. Then tear the panettone into medium sized chunks – about a dessert spoon size. Really, the size does not matter because it all comes together in the end. But you need to make sure it is broken into reasonably sized pieces to allow the custard to get to the heart of the matter. Arrange the chunks in a greased, medium sized baking dish, about 25x18x5cm.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream, eggs, castor sugar and vanilla extract/paste. Whisk all the ingredients together, ensuring they are well combined.
Gently pour the custard over the panettone chunks ensuring it is evenly spread. Use a spoon or fork to gently move the panettone about to make sure the custard reaches every part and that there are no dry edges exposed. Finally, sprinkle the demarera sugar across the top of the pudding and bake it in the oven for 30 minutes. The pudding is done when you notice a small rise and the crust is deliciously brown and crunchy.
Serve with fresh cream and a big spoon. You will get between 6 and 8 serves from this recipe.