It’s a sure sign that Christmas is coming when the panettone start filling the stores. Once upon a time you could only get them at specialty Italian grocers, but now they’ve gone mainstream, appearing in all supermarkets. Each year new varieties appear – today at the deli I saw one with a pear and chocolate centre, one with a Strega centre, and one with a “Verona” almond crust. I’m a bit of a traditionalist though, opting for the standard fruit or a pandoro. Most of the time I eat it as is, but every now and again I like to do something a bit different – see a few of my ideas here.
Another nice idea if summer goes rogue and it’s a cool night, is this very easy panettone pudding.
1 750g panettone
600ml light thickened cream
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
40g unsalted butter
Extra butter, for greasing
1/3 cup flaked almonds
Icing sugar, for dusting
Vanilla ice cream to serve
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees fan forced
Grease a baking dish, then tear the panettone with your hands into medium size pieces and put into the dish.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, extracts and brandy until well combined. Pour over the panettone and allow to sit for a few minutes. Cut the butter into small pieces and dot the panettone with it. Place in the oven for about 40 minutes until it becomes golden.
Meanwhile, lightly toast the flaked almonds in a pan then set aside. (You could also sprinkle the almonds through uncooked beforehand, and bake rather than adding afterwards).
Remove the pudding from the oven, dust with icing sugar and sprinkle with the almonds. Serve as is or with vanilla ice cream.
There’s a lot of potential variations in this – you could add mixed berries in for baking, or other nuts such as pistachio for texture.