Panettone French Toast
As a kid my favorite breakfast was French toast. I loved those pillowy bites of eggy bread completely soaked with maple syrup. To get even more maple syrup into my French toast, I would split the fried bread lengthwise and just saturate it. Many years later, when I was old enough not to have to ask my mom to prepare French toast, I started experimenting with different types of bread, such as brioche, challah, and later panettone. It was then when I knew that panettone was by far the best medium for French toast. Not only is the bread soft, airy, and sweet, but it's also studded with raisins and candied orange peel. French toast just got a whole lot better and it became Italian!
When it comes to breakfasts, there's nothing more special than waking up on Christmas morning to a decadent breakfast laid out on the family table. And there's no better opportunity to make panettone French toast than on Christmas morning, especially when you have your entire family around. So, instead of just frying up a few slices of panettone, I suggest frying up the entire panettone, slathering each slice with maple syrup and mascarpone, and stacking it up as if it's a layered cake. Who wouldn't want to eat that on Christmas morning!?
So I'd like to present to you my panettone French toast made with one dozen eggs and some heavy cream to make it even richer. For this recipe you'll need a 500-gram panettone, that you'll want to slice thickly. Make sure to saturate each slice thoroughly, but I suggest doing so step by step as you go to fry each slice. Otherwise if you soak the bread slices for too long, you'll end up with mush that will be impossible to deal with. The bottom and top slices will need some extra attention since they're inherently drier, so I suggest pricking them with a fork to assist in the absorption.
Assembly is super fun and easy. Just stack up the fried panettone French toast, and saturate each layer with maple syrup and spread each with a dollop of the mascarpone and orange zest mixture. Once it's towering high, it's ready to be sliced up and served. I'd like to think this recipe serves four, but I myself have eaten an entire panettone French toast all by myself. If you're doing a full-on Christmas brunch, this will be a nice sweet offering that family members can try alongside other breakfast options like eggs, hot sandwiches, or even fruit. It doesn't have to be at the center of the breakfast table, but by all means I think it's going to be the center of everyone's attention!
Panettone French ToastNote: It's a good idea to keep track of the panettone slices, so that you fry them up in the same order in which they were cut. This can prevent the panettone french toast stack from looking too lopsided.
500 gram (1 pound) classic panettone
large pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream plus 2 tablespoons
coconut oil, for frying
250 grams mascarpone
maple syrup, for serving
Slice the panettone into 3/4- to 1-inch-thick rounds using a sharp serrated knife. You should get five or six slices. Trim some of the uppermost part of the "muffin" top of the panettone. This will help the top absorb the egg mixture more easily.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, salt, and 1/2 cup cream until silken smooth.
In a large rimmed tray or baking sheet, place two slices of panettone and ladle over with a few ladles of the egg mixture until the panettone slices look saturated. After a few minutes, flip the slices over so that the other sides have a chance to absorb more of the egg mixture in the pan.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of coconut oil. Carefully transfer one of the saturated panettone slices into the pan. Fry for about 2 to 3 minutes, flip, cover the skillet with a lid, and continue cooking until the panettone slice has puffed slightly and is cooked through, about an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Feel free to use two forks to peek inside of the panettone slice to ensure the interior is cooked through. Transfer the fried panettone slice to a plate.
Repeat these steps of saturating the panettone slices and refreshing the pan with coconut oil before adding each slice of bread to the skillet until you've fried all the panettone slices. Soak no more than one or two panettone slices at one time before frying them. You don't want to soak the panettone slices for too long as the delicate bread can disintegrate from over-absorption. The top and bottom slices of the panettone will need to soak for a little bit longer. Prick them with a fork to enable faster absorption, and ladle them over with plenty of the egg mixture. I like to fry these two slices first, since they tend to need more of the egg mixture.
In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the mascarpone with the 2 tablespoons cream. Finely zest one of the oranges into the cheese and mix to combine.
On a serving plate, assemble your panettone French toast stack. Start with the bottom slice, drizzle with some maple syrup, and spread over with a dollop of the mascarpone and orange zest mixture. Repeat until you've stacked up all the slices in order, trying your best to keep the stack aligned. Drizzle the top with maple syrup. Make sure to reserve enough of the mascarpone and orange zest mixture for one final dollop on the top of the stack. Garnish the top of the panettone stack with large strips of orange zest from the second orange.
For serving, insert four wooden skewers into the stack, like you would with a deli sandwich or hamburger. Cut the French toast "cake" into four wedges and serve immediately with additional maple syrup and any of the "sauce" that has gathered at the bottom of the serving plate. Yield: Up to 4 servings.