French Toast The Italian Way

It’s that time of year where everything you see sparkles and everything you eat somehow tastes better! And during the holiday season we see these everywhere. We’ve all seen them. Those big pretty boxes all dolled up in big pretty bows with glitter. Some people purchase them and hand them out as gifts for the party host. Some use them as decor and yet others simply don’t really know what they are or what to do with them. I am referring to a delicious Italian treat known as Panettone!

panettone

If you’re not familiar with Panettone, allow me to give you a little background on this Italian goodie. Panettone is a type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan, usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year in Italy and other European countries. Kinda reminds me of the Soda Bread my mother-in-law makes during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations though not as heavy. Many variations of Panettone are available such as plain, lemon, chocolate or with dried fruit. It is served in slices, vertically cut, accompanied with sweet hot beverages or a sweet wine, such as Asti or Moscato d’Asti. In some regions of Italy, it is served with crema di mascarpone, a cream made from mascarpone cheese, eggs, sometimes dried or candied fruits, and typically a sweet liqueur such as amaretto; if mascarpone cheese is unavailable, zabaione is sometimes used as a substitute.

I decided to do away with the traditional way of consuming this delicious bread years ago. Instead I opted to make a delightful breakfast dish. This is my version of french toast and I like to call it “Italian French Toast!” I make this dish during the months of December and January because it’s usually the best time of year to find Panettone. And I’ll make it on Sunday mornings for the entire family. It is also a great idea to include in your menu if you’re planning to host a brunch and are looking to impress your guests without slaving in the kitchen.  I highly suggest you take this recipe and put it at the top of your recipe collection box. Any time you wish to do something sweet, delicious and different grab it and watch everyone swoon over this amazing dish!

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The List of Ingredients*

  • One 1 lb. Panettone (I prefer Plain or Lemon flavored)
  • 1 dozen eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup of regular sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Amaretto di Saronno Liqueur
  • 2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated Nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of butter for each batch
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Honey or Maple Syrup

For those of us familiar with french toast, the technique is the same. But if you’re new to the kitchen scene or haven’t made french toast in a while here are the steps:

  • Slice your Panettone horizontally, about 1 inch thick slices and arrange on a platter.
  • In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients starting with the eggs through the cinnamon with a handheld mixer until well blended.
  • Pour the entire mixture in a casserole dish large enough to hold the mixture and be able to dip the slices without going over the edge.

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  1. Heat a large frying pan or griddle on medium low heat with 1 Tbs. of butter.
  2. Preheat oven to warm.
  3. Take one or two slices of the bread and dip in the egg mixture to coat well making sure to soak the bread thoroughly.
  4. Once the butter has melted and is bubbly place the slices of dipped bread onto the pan and fry one side for 2-3 minutes then turn over gently without tearing them. Make sure to fry well but not burn. You do not want to end up with raw eggs on your bread! You may have to turn over once again to make sure they are well done. (This is a nice recipe to make with the kids. I’ll have one of them soaking the bread slices while I keep an eye on the frying pan. We work together making the process easier and quicker.)
  5. After frying, place cooked slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put into the preheated oven to keep warm.photo (24)
  6. Continue the dipping and frying process for the remainder of the bread until they are all done, layering them gently atop one another on the baking sheet in the oven.
  7. Once they are all done, place one or two slices, depending on the size, on a plate and sprinkle powdered sugar over them. Drizzle honey or maple syrup and enjoy!

*This recipe makes a generous serving of 6-8 slices. It can easily be adjusted to half the amount.

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There you have it, perfectly done, delicious and satisfying morning treat! You can also add fresh berries, blueberries or raspberries for a pretty and healthy touch.

I hope you get a chance to make this recipe and truly enjoy it. Any thoughts or ideas, share them with me, I’d love to hear from you! Buon appetito!

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