What better way to use leftover panettone than to make bread pudding, right? This is a simple recipe, with few everyday ingredients, and very customizable flavor-wise. Take advantage of holiday bread and make this wonderful vintage dessert that can be frozen!
Leftover panettone is a classic image in our kitchen once the holidays are over. Besides making buttered toast or french toast for a brunch sometimes, we love to use it for this simple dessert recipe.
Bread pudding is a fantastic dessert to make with leftover bread but I think that post-holiday panettone pudding is still the best of them all and might be my favorite Christmas dessert! Especially if the original Italian bread is a good one.
Why this recipe works:
- Very easy to make. As with most bread puddings, it's made with old bread (in this case panettone cubes) and a simple custard mixture that are dumpled on a baking dish and baked until golden brown.
- Use of leftovers. Here we gift a lot of panettone so what to do with the leftovers is always an issue for the day following Christmas eve. Right now I have two at home, so yes, this recipe is the way to go because, once opened, it dries out pretty quickly.
- Few ingredients. Flavorings and customizations aside, it only takes milk, eggs and sugar to make a panettone bread pudding. The bread itself is sweet and has add-ins, so there's flavor in there already.
- Freezing. The baked dessert can be frozen so there's really no excuse.
As I mentioned above, very few, simple ingredients are needed.
- Panettone: it's the main ingredient, and how good it is will directly affect the texture and flavor of this bread pudding.
- Sugar: use white or brown, they both work well.
- Milk: whole is the best because it adds richness, but if you only have low-fat use it with a few tablespoons of cream.
- Eggs: large, fresh. If using very small eggs use one more than specified in the recipe.
- Flavorings: I like to add lemon zest and vanilla. Orange zest works very well, and even a tiny bit more of orange blossom water which is one of the original flavors in this holiday bread. This is where you can customize it to your taste.
I love how simple making this dessert is. A buttered dish, slices of bread, an easy-to-make binding cream, and not much more.
- Baking dish: this easy dessert is served from the dish it's baked on, so make sure it's one you like to take to the table.
- Custard: it's a matter of whisking several ingredients, that's it. Very simple.
- Bread: the slices or cubes soak in the custard for a while before the pudding is baked.
- Baking: the pudding puffs and turns golden brown, but always make sure the custard is fully baked. Carefully lift the bread slices here and there and check that the inside is not too runny and that the eggs and cream mixture have coddled.
How to cut the panettone?
This seems to be the most asked question. My short answer is: take the panettone loaf and cut it however you like it.
- Thick slices: this will make the pudding uneven and you will have different textures throughout the dessert. I like it better.
- Cubes: cutting the bread into small cubes will result in a dessert that is dense but has less texture, which is more even because the smaller pieces soak faster and more evenly. You'll still have the add-ins from the original bread though when you bite.
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How to serve it
- Warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoope of ice cream is my favorite way.
- Drizzle some caramel sauce or homemade dulce de leche to a warm serving of this bread pudding, with or without cream or ice cream as mentioned in the step above.
- Serve warm with a pool of creme Anglaise, a little more laborious but worth it.
Frequently asked questions
It's not too sweet, with a hint of orange blossom (a very unique almondy flavor) and vanilla. The traditional recipe has candied fruit, nuts, and sometimes raisins. Nowadays, they can be made with various add-ins, including chocolate chunks.
You can insert a tester and it should come out clean. But the pudding should be shiny and not completely firm. This will ensure that it's still creamy and not dry.
In theory, you can eat it however you want. I think the best way is warm with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or caramel sauce.
Related recipes you might like:
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- 1 teaspoon of butter, for the dish
- 13oz panettone, cut into thick slices or chunks
- 2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- Lemon zest from half a medium lemon
- 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar with ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, for topping
- Whipped cream, to server, optional
- Butter an 8x11-inch ceramic dish (I use an oval one, but any shape is good).
- Arrange the panettone slices or chunks, fitting them snugly.
- Mix together milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest in a bowl. You don't need to beat it as we don't want to incorporate air, but make sure the eggs are well incorporated. Alternatively, mix the eggs first separately and add to the milk and other ingredients.
- Pour this mixture carefully over the panettone, making sure all is moistened. Since the bread is usually uneven, some slices might be more covered than others, and that is fine.
- Let this mixture stand at room temperature to allow the bread to absorb the liquid. If the panettone was still moist 20-30 minutes is fine. If it was dry, you might want to leave it for 45 minutes. At this point, you can also cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.
- Check the mixture once or twice, submerging again any bread slices that popped to the surface too much. Or turn them over if they're on the surface and one of the sides is not being soaked enough.
- Mix the extra tablespoon of sugar with the ground cinnamon and sprinkle on top.
- Bake for 20 minutes, decrease the temperature to 325°F/160°C and bake for another 20-25 minutes until the top is puffed and golden brown. A tester inserted should come out clean. Don't be tempted to leave it until it's very firm because we want it to be creamy. But also make sure the custard is not too runny.
- Let cool a little and serve warm with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream if you want. Drizzle some caramel or dulce de leche on top for an even more decadent dessert.
- Store leftovers covered, in the refrigerator.
it's the main ingredient, and how good it is will directly affect the texture and flavor of this bread pudding.
How to cut the panettone? This seems to be the most asked question. My short answer is however you like it. And the long one is that it really doesn't matter much because it will be soaked with the liquid and will bake rather evenly. Unless you like to eat bread pudding that is dense but has little texture. In that case, cube the panettone which will ensure that it's soaked faster and more evenly. You'll still have the add-ins from the original bread though.
Baking dish: this easy dessert is served from the dish it's baked on, so make sure it's one you like to take to the table.
Baking: the pudding puffs and turns golden brown, but always make sure the custard is fully baked. Carefully lift the bread slices here and there and check that the inside is not too runny and that the eggs and cream mixture have coddled.
Sugar: use white or brown sugar, they both work well.
Milk: whole is the best because it adds richness, but if you only have low-fat use it with a few tablespoons of cream.
Flavorings: I like to add lemon zest and vanilla. Orange zest works very well, and even a tiny bit more of orange blossom water which is one of the original flavors in this holiday bread. This is where you can customize it to your taste.
- Prep Time: 45
- Cook Time: 40
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: International
Keywords: panettone bread pudding