For as long as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed Panettone with hot chocolate during the month of December and specially for Xmas. What could be a simpler pleasure than a sweet, buttery, and fruit flavored bread that comes in a box which makes it the gift of the season among friends and family in Peru? Well, last week, I broke my tradition and tried something completely new — I made a Panettone bread pudding.
The inspiration for making this Panettone bread pudding came from Gaston Acurion in a tweet he posted for Puditon, a 10 word recipe for Xmas with no measures or amounts, just a list with three ingredients and three simple steps: soak, mold, and bake. Done. Naturally, I could not wait to make this special bread pudding and after four attemps over a period of two days I arrived at a recipe just in time for Xmas.
The result is a bread pudding that is moist, fluffy, with all the flavors from the Panettone, but in a creamier texture with accents of crunchy pecans. And if you are wondering whether to have this Panettone bread pudding with hot chocolate, let me make a recommendation. Pair the Panettone bread pudding with a small glass of sweet, dark, and creamy Sherry. And maybe after a few bites, and a sip of the Sherry, you will have started a new Holiday tradition.
This recipe is dedicated to my friends who, being gracious guinea pigs for my Peruvian treats, gave me valuable feedback and suggestions while I was developing it. Gracias y ¡Feliz Navidad!
- 1 lb. panettone, cut into 1″ cubes
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
- 1 oz. raw sugar syrup
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans, broken into coarse pieces
In addition to the ingredients above, you’ll need a skillet to toast the pecans, two mixing bowls, and a 9″x9″ non-stick baking pan.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Toast the pecans in a skillet over medium heat, transfer the toasted pecans to a cooling surface and break into coarse pieces.
- Remove the paper around the side and bottom of the panettone, cut the panettone into 1″ cubes, place into a bowl, and set aside.
- Mix the milk, slightly beaten egg yolks, and raw sugar syrup in a separate bowl.
- Arrange an assembly line, from left to right: the bowl with the panettone cubes, the bowl with the milk, and the baking pan.
- Using your hand, dunk a handful of the panettone cubes into the milk, and arrange the soaked cubes in the baking pan. Continue until a layer is formed on the bottom of the baking pan with half of the panettone cubes. Then, sprinkle half of the toasted pecans over the layer of soaked panettone cubes on the bottom of the baking pan.
- Continue dunking the rest of the panettone cubes in the milk, a handful at a time, to make a second layer of soaked panettone cubes in the baking pan.
- Sprinkle the rest of the toasted pecans over the top layer of soaked panettone cubes in the baking pan.
- Place the baking pan in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until done.
- Remove and let cool for 15 minutes before transferring the bread pudding from the baking pan to a cutting surface.
- Cut into 16 square pieces by dividing the panettone bread pudding into a 4×4 grid.
- Serve warm.
A 1 lb. panettone should yield about 8 cups of 1″ panettone cubes. Since a fresh panettone is usually light and fluffy, the key to making this bread pudding is to not over soak the panettone cubes. When dunking the panettone cubes in the milk, they should absorb milk all the way through but not loose their shape. Dunking for a few seconds should suffice. When transferring the soaked panettone cubes to the baking pan, hold them over the bowl with milk to strain any excess milk. Be careful not so mush or squish the panettone cubes, however. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick in the center of the bread pudding and verify it comes out clean. Once baked, the bread pudding should be moist, easy to tear, and the panettone cubes should retain their shape.