I'm back! Sorry I was away for so long, but you understand... I got all caught up in the holidays and yesterday I was just up for one thing: nothing. I watched some movies on HBO and ate leftovers for dinner and it was all that I wanted.
Since we spoke last I've visited my mom and had her wonderful Stuffed Cabbage and this pistachio pudding dessert she makes with a flaky crust and whipped cream on top - yum! The next day was my dad's house with spinach artichoke dip, backed spicy peel 'n eat shrimp, and lasagna with salad for dinner. The following day was appetizers and wine at Mark's parents' house featuring our friends Chris and Lex's Pastry-Wrapped Asparagus dipped in Jalapeno Cheese Sauce and my Pepperoni Stuffed Baby Bella Mushrooms. Then on to Christmas dinner the next day at Mark's parents' house where Mark prepared an amazing charred-on-the-outside, juicy-and-pink-on-the-inside Delmonico Roast with Au Jus and I served (Giada's) my Panettone Bread Pudding. Mark's mom made this outstanding french onion soup and a delicious Beet and Orange Salad (recipe courtesy of Chris and Lex). So as you can imagine, probably the furthest thing from my mind yesterday was eating food, let alone blogging about it.
But today's another day and I'm back in the saddle again and ready to tell you all about my first experience with making bread pudding and actually with eating bread pudding. I think I've tasted it once, but I've never really sat down to a dish of it and certainly not with homemade cinnamon syrup. It was like the best french toast you've ever tasted with the best syrup you've ever poured on it. The only thing I'd change next time would be to add a bit more panettone than the recipe calls for because it was a little eggy and probably could have stood to be a little more firm.
So how do you make such a thing you ask? Well here's how ya do it:
You start with... a Panettone. Are you a part of an Italian-American family? Then you already have one.
Go look, I'll wait...
Did you find it? Yeah, that's what I thought.
Haha... Seriously, though, since I've known Mark, who is of Italian decent, I've learned that this is an extremely popular thing to give and receive during the Christmas holiday season. We got two this year.
Panettone is a traditional cake-like bread stuffed with dried raisins and candied orange and lemon peel from Milan. According to i-Italy, one of the legends of Panettone says that the person who invented it was the Milanese nobleman Ughetto degli Atellani who lived in the 1400s. He fell in love with Adalgisa, the daughter of a poor baker named Toni. To win her over, the nobleman disguised himself as a baker and invented a rich bread in which he added to the flour and yeast, butter, eggs, dried raisins, and candied peel. The duke of Milan, Ludovico il Moro Sforza, encouraged the launch of the new cake-like bread: pan del Ton (or Toni's bread).
Another story says that Toni, the young helper of a cook, was the real inventor. It was Christmas and the court chef had no dessert to offer. What he had prepared wasn’t good enough to be served. So Toni prepared something using everything he had available. Hence the name panettone, “il pan de Toni” (Toni’s bread).
To make this bread pudding, you start by trimming the dark crust off of a 1 lb. panettone (I suggest you use about 3/4 of a 2 lb. panettone). You then cube the trimmed panettone and put it into a lightly buttered baking dish.
Next, whisk together 8 large eggs, cream, milk, and sugar to make a rich custard.
Next, pour that custard all over the panettone cubes and gently push on them to submerge them into the mixture. Let the pudding sit for 30 minutes, every now and then pushing down on the cubes to make sure they're completely submerged and soaked by the custard.
Bake the bread pudding for about 45 minutes until the center is set and the pudding puffs up. While the pudding is baking, prepare the cinnamon syrup.
To make the syrup, combine 1 cup of water and 1 cup of brown sugar in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil until the syrup reduces to 1 cup - about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and cinnamon.
Serve the warm pudding in small squares with some warm syrup drizzled over the top. By using panettone, the taste is so very "holiday". It was very good and I would definitely make it again. Let me know if you decide to try it!