I spent nearly every Christmas of my early adulthood in Italy. My best friend, Cristiano and his family warmly welcomed me every year for an abundant delicious feast, despite slightly disappointing his mother by informing her each time that I was STILL vegetarian. These cherished festive memories are all accompanied by the most symbolic dessert of the holiday season in Italy, panettone, the fluffy buttery yeasty sweet bread that melts in your mouth then leaves joyful candied fruit bits for chewing. Tearing off bites of panettone with friends is my definition of holiday bliss and am annually eager to seek out this treat here in New York.
This holiday season I have noticed more miniature panettones in stores, as gifts, and well as their empty boxes in bins (not that I go scavenging, but they do catch my eye in clear recycling sacks while walking through the East Village on trash day). And understandably so, with fewer people gathering and more alone time, opting for the Big Mac-sized single serving panettone is practical.
I’m not saying that we aren’t capable of polishing off a whole full-size panettone (or pandoro, as I prefer), but I understand the deciding factors: it’s big, might go stale, too many calories, it’s just for little ole me… but panettones are much more versatile that you might think! Below are some suggestions for exploring the possibilities of panettone so you can go big into 2021!
Comfort food: Panettone Bread Pudding
Toast it and spread some Nutella on top
Slice it up and make a gruyere toasted cheese sandwich (or any other melty nutty cheese)
Don’t wanna grill or toast it? Spread some fresh goat cheese on top
Make French toast and get extra fancy with this clotted cream recipe
Make croutons! Dice it up and bake until crispy – toss it on a salad
Panettone liqueur: be the hippest Italian on this side of the Atlantic by soaking a quarter of a panettone in dark rum for 3-4 days, filter it and enjoy! Serve warm in a thermos for chilly winter walks.
Still not inspired? Panettone freezes well, just slice it up and store in a large container, so it doesn’t get smooshed.
Thanks for reading! If you would like some intel on pairing wine with panettone, reply to this email writing “Auguri” and a printable pairing guide is all yours!