Today, I don’t feel like doing anything. No, I’m not quoting Bruno Mars, but I really don’t feel like getting out of bed or changing out of my comfy sweats. I just want to curl up in bed with my lovely Kindle, sipping a warm cup of chai and maybe having someone deliver me brunch in bed. Unfortunately the latter isn’t going to happen, as (1) I live alone, and can’t bully anyone to make me brunch, (2) the only person I could bully is more than 3000 miles away. Tough luck. Looks like I’m on my own here – so to make up for the fact that no one will make me breakfast but ME, I decided to treat myself to something special.
Last week, FoodBuzz sent me 2 loaves of Bauducco® Panettone. Studded with little bits of SunMaid raisins and fragrant citrus peel, panettone is the quintessential cold-weather bread. It reminds me of the holidays, and family, and all things warm and lovely. It’s probably one of the best parts of winter – suddenly the store shelves are stocked with panettone. Everytime I unwrap a panettone loaf, it feels like Christmas. There is the special domed cardboard box, then the cellophane bag, then that twist-tie-thing that holds it all in. When it finally unwraps, wow – I’m hit with this punch of buttery, citrusy goodness. It smells amazing. I could bottle it and turn it into perfume (who needs Chanel No5). Or air freshener (Glade or Air Wick should really get on this). And when you slice into it – it’s soft and ever so slightly spongy. So after a week of just eating panettone as an after-school snack, today, I prepped it a bit differently. Left soaking in a decadent custard, cubes of panettone bread are transformed into an even more (is this possible? yes!) warm and comforting dish – welcome, panettone bread pudding.
Panettone Bread Pudding
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
1/2 loaf panettone [I munched on the other half….], chopped into cubes
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 c sour cream [fat free!!]
3/4 c sugar
In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, sour cream and sugar, until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Reserve a 1/2 cup of the mixture for the sauce, recipe below. Here, I used fat free sour cream to replace the additional heavy cream or whole milk that other recipes call for, hopefully (in theory, anyway), trimming down on the richness a bit. To the cream mixture, beat in the eggs until incorporated. Toss in the cubes of panettone, and push to submerge in the custardy mixture, as needed to evenly soak the bread. Allow the bread to absorb all of the liquid (~30 mins).
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350* and lightly butter a loaf pan or a few small ramekins. I used 4-3oz ramekins, and still had some leftover. Divide the bread mixture evenly among the ramekins or spread into a loaf pan. Sprinkle the tops of each pan or ramekin with a bit of coarse sugar. This helps form a crunchy, sweet, and very pretty crust. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick into the center comes out clean and the tops are golden. Serve with berries and almond cream (see below). Enjoy!
1/2 c sugar/cream/sour cream mixture from above
1/2-1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp almond extract [Giada uses amaretto liqueur, but I don’t have any]
Place the 1/2 cup of reserved sugar/heavy cream/sour cream into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer, and whisk in the cornstarch and almond extract until the mixture has thickened. Start with a 1/2 tsp of cornstarch and sprinkle in a little more as needed to reach the desired consistency. Once smooth and all the lumps have disappeared, remove from heat but serve warm.
The texture for this particular bread pudding is extra tender and decadent, but less ‘pudding-like’, as I actually don’t like pudding’s consistency. This bread pudding is still soft and custardy, but still retains a bit of chew, which I like. The recipe is endlessly adaptable, and if you prefer a more custardy/puddingy bread pudding, by all means, increase the amount of cream/eggs.
So I’ve made myself brunch and am going to crawl back into the warm cocoon that is my bed. Until soon lovely readers,
PS. Look out for a deluge of soup/step recipes in the coming weeks 🙂