There are many legends surrounding panettone - a delectable Christmas confection of a bread from Milan. Most of the legends have to do with love. So it was with great delight that I arrived home with my love from our Italian getaway - a country of love - to two boxes of Bauducco's Pantettone welcoming me. For fun, find some of the stories about how panettone came to be here.
After two weeks of feasting and not any cooking, I was anxious to get back into the kitchen. After I slept for two days. The Bauducco Panettone was given to me as part of the Tastemaker program at Foodbuzz. I have made Panettone. It's not the sort of thing you put together in the morning for your evening meal. And it shouldn't be. It's for the holidays - it's celebratory. It takes a wee bit of work.
I was greeted with the scent of vanilla as I unwrapped the package. Soft and pliable - it is not the panettone sold at most grocers over Christmas. One loaf - designed for stuffing contained raisins and the other loaf - designed for French Toast and bread pudding contains bits of chocolate. So, it was not the traditional Milanese load containing many fruits such as citron.
I made the stuffing first. I traditionally make sausage-apple stuffing - I like it savory. This was to be a sweeter stuffing - with additions such as dried apricots and sour cherries. It felt like autumn in my kitchen. Outside it was 87 degrees F (I think Minnesota did not want me missing Italy too much so it arranged for a second summer - I felt all sultry - autumning it in Rome - at home).
Panettone Stuffing (serves 6-8)
1 Bauducco Panettone with Sun-Maid raisins (26.2 oz. package)
1/2 cup butter
3 teaspoons finely shopped fresh sage
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried sour cherries (dried cranberries would also work)
1/2 cup dried apricots - cut into thin strips
1-1/2 cups finely chopped onion (I used 1 cup)
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped carrots
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the panettone into 3/4 inch squares and place in a large bowl. Melt half the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook bread squares until they are browned - about five minutes (mine browned much faster). Remove from heat and add half the sage, salt and pepper. Gently toss the bread. Spread the bread squares on two baking sheets and bake until toasted - about fifteen minutes. Transfer toasted squares to a large bowl.
- Place the dried fruit in a medium bowl. Add boiling water to cover. Sewt aside to plump and soften. Drain plumped fruit.
- Increase oven to 375 degrees F. Heat remaining butter in a medium saucepan (I used same one I used to toss the panettone). Add onions, carrots and celery and cook over medium-low heat until softened. Remove from heat. Add sage and fruit and toss. Add to bowl with toasted bread and toss. Add broth to moisten. Pour all into 9x13 ovenproof casserole dish and bake uncovered until golden brown - about 40 minutes.
I paired it with a simple pork chop. The family swooned. This was perfect autumn fare - dried fruits, sage -- and the stuffing was packed with autumn colors. I'm glad they were thrilled but I did wonder - perhaps they were tired of my sausage-apple stuffing after 20 years? They loved the sweet. And they all had stuffing for lunch the next day.
For the last two years I have made Ciao Chow Linda's Panettone bread pudding - it's impossibly rich and I feel decadent and wicked when I add all those eggs and heavy cream. After being so good in the days leading up to Christmas - a little wickedness always seems in order. So you can use Linda's - or you can use Bauducco's. They both evoke warmth and the cozy. Below is Bauducco's. For Linda's... follow the link.
Panettone Bread Pudding - serves 8
6 ounces Bauducco Panettone - thinly sliced - about 8 slices
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup rum (I omitted it; I don't tend to mix rum with my wine)
3/4 cup sweet Marsala (I added 1 cup)
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
confectioner's sugar (I omitted that - it's pretty - but didn't need it)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a shallow 3-quart baking dish. Layer the panettone slices in the baking dish.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the milk and sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and add the rum, Marsala and heavy cream.
- In a bowl, beat the eggs, orange zest and cinnamon. Slowly stir it in the milk mixture. Pour the mixture over the panettone slices, pressing down on the slices to keep them submerged. Bake for 30 minute or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (it took 40 minutes in my oven). Serve warm or chilled, sprinkled with confectioner's sugar.
(My family wanted ice cream - in fact they wanted salty caramel gelato and that's what they were served/
I later baked them again for fifteen minutes and cut them into squares and served them the next day to a group as "bars." The group loved the tender, fluffy vanilla-scented bites.
Both dishes were delicious. The panettone was light and really you could just slice it and eat it. But as I said - if you want the traditional - this does not include all the fruits that it is famous for but it does make for one satisfying bread slice! Spread it with Nutella or a rich berry jam. You will evoke smiles. Now for the giveaway....
The winner of The Cuisine of Italy from the Random Number Generator was #1 - Claudia from What's Cookin' Italian Style Cuisine. Congratulations to Claudia and I will be gathering your info to get that out to you ASAP. Thanks for the warm welcome home, all. There's no place like home... and there's no place like Italy.