My experience with panettone is limited. I remember once a couple of years ago, my parents bought a loaf in the North End during a holiday sale, and left it sitting around their house for weeks. Me being myself with a serious inquisitive side when it comes to food, I unpacked it and tried a few bites – didn’t want it to go to waste! I was surprised to find I loved it, and promptly devoured it over the next couple of days. I don’t even like candied fruit rinds, so I never expected to like it, but something about the lighter-than-air texture was so appealing and impossible to resist. Since then, I hadn’t tried panettone again, until this year.
In December, Kevin and I took a pre-Christmas trip to NYC (thanks to my future in-laws!!) to see all of the Christmas decorations and enjoy a weekend away. While we were there, we also had the pleasure of visiting Eataly for the first time, where they had a large display of all different kinds of panettone. We picked a loaf up along with the rest of our delicious Italian bounty, and brought it back home where it promptly sat on the counter for a couple of weeks.
When I finally got myself motivated to open it, once again it was gone just like that! Kevin and I completely demolished it (had to get those last sugary treats in before the new year and healthier eating!) but not before we were able to make this french toast.
Admittedly, you don’t really need to do anything with panettone because it has so much flavor on it’s own, but we wanted a special breakfast treat so this was it. I made an orange-scented egg batter for these, which I think nicely complimented the candied citrus peel. Once all cooked up, we served it with maple syrup, but because of it’s inherently sweet nature, we didn’t need much.
This breakfast was a lovely way to round out the year, and to end the holiday season with a bang!
Panettone French Toast
½ large pannetone (about ½ lb) cut into 1-inch slices
½ cup 1% milk
½ cup half and half
zest of ½ orange (I used a clementine – worked perfectly!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1) In medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, half-and-half, orange zest, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. You can do this the night before and store in the refrigerator.
2) Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick pan. Dip panettone slices into the egg mixture, flipping to coat both sides, then let some of the excess egg mixture drip off before placing in preheated pan. Cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining slices, placing finished slices on a plate in the preheated oven to stay warm.
3) Serve immediately plain, or with maple syrup. Enjoy!