Hello blog readers! I've got a present for you. Here's what you're having for Christmas breakfast or brunch. The morning of the big day can be a bit hectic, with the opening of gifts, the wrapping and ribbons clean-up and getting ready to go visit additional family and friends. But you still have to eat, right? So why not eat like a chef? My friend, the fabulous Chef Leo Maurelli, shared one of his favorite recipes for me to share with you: Panettone French Toast. It's quick and easy to make and a littler fancier than average French toast. And you won't find this sweet, satisfying dish on the menu at Central, his restaurant in downtown Montgomery. This is some of Leo's home-cooking; it's what he whips up for his wife and young son. Thanks to his large and generous Italian family, Leo gets an abundance of panettone each year. (The tall cylindrical bread filled with raisins and candied fruit is the Italian version of the ubiquitous fruit cake.) And since Leo refuses to waste food, he's always finding new ways to eat it all up. Panettone French Toast has become a family tradition at his house during the holidays, and after just one or two bites, I promise that you'll adopt it as one of your own. Oh, and there's a bonus gift. You can use some of the same ingredients to make a dessert for later.
A huge thanks to Leo for letting me in his kitchen and to the talented Bryan Carter of Taste Buds Photography for snapping these delish pics!
Panettone French Toast (serves 4)
- 8 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 slices (about 1-inch thick) of panettone. (You can usually find panettone at Fresh Market locations and other grocery stores around the holidays. )
Whisk the eggs and spices together and heat a tablespoon or two of butter on a griddle or in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Dip each slice of bread into the egg wash to coat. Don't let the bread soak; just do a quick dunk in and out. Lay each slice in the hot skillet or on the hot griddle and cook until the first side is browned (about 2 minutes). Flip the slices over let the last side brown (about two minutes). Sprinkle with confectioners sugar or serve with your favorite syrup or honey.
It. Is. So. Good. And so simple.
PANETTONE BREAD PUDDING
Chef Leo hates waste, so he's even found a way to use up the rest of his panettone loaf as well as the egg wash he uses for the French toast.
- Leftover egg wash from French toast
- rest of panettone loaf, torn or chopped into small cubes
- 3 more eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup Grand Marnier
Add the bread cubes to a buttered a casserole dish or a few individual ramekins. Add the rest of the ingredients to the egg wash. Mix well. Pour the egg and cream mixture over the bread until just covered. (You may have some liquid leftover.) Bake for about 30 minutes (or until set and golden brown on top) at 350 degrees. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Wanna little booze with your breakfast? Create a quick bourbon-infused syrup for drizzling on your French Toast or later, the bread pudding. Put 1 cup of syrup in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add a few shots of bourbon and cook for just a few minutes. If you can get your hands on some pure cane syrup, all the better, but maple syrup will work too.