Sunday, December 12, 2010

Panettone French toast for an elegant breakfast treat


Panettone is classic Italian sweet, fruity bread traditionally enjoyed around Christmas time. We resist opening our pretty red box until we are ready to use it, because for some mysterious reason, slices seem to disappear and no one knows what happened to them. One theory is that Santa’s elves sneak into our house during the night and help themselves to a slice while we sleep. Seriously, pannettone is that good and I promise that you can’t stop eating it once you start. Consider yourself warned.

There are many stories regarding the origin of panettone (and none include Santa’s elves sneaking snacks.) My favorite is a romantic tale of two lovers and special bread.  In Milan there supposedly was a baker named Toni who had a beautiful daughter. A young man who worked for Toni in the bakery wanted to marry his daughter. To win Toni’s approval, the young man created special sweet bread filled with fruits and other rich ingredients. The special bread the young man created made Toni’s bakery famous and people began to call the bread “pan ad Toni.” Needless to say, Toni became rich and allowed the young man to marry his daughter.

Panettone, pronounced pænəˈtoʊni, originated in Milan and the word “panettone” is derived from the Italian word “panetto,” meaning small loaf bread. The suffix “one” (pronounced “o-neh”) changes the meaning to large bread. During the Christmas season, Italians eat pannettone for breakfast with coffee, between meals with Marsala wine, and after dinner with spumante.

The fragrant, scented panettone dough, rich in butter, eggs, raisins and candied fruit, is raised naturally in special paper until it reaches the traditional famous rounded shape. If you’d like to make your own panettone, here’s Mario Batali’s recipe from a Food Network television special - An Italian Christmas with Mario Batali and Giada DeLaurentiis. I prefer to purchase my panettone and I was thrilled to learn recently that you can buy it year around in some Italian markets.

This recipe is a gussied up version of French toast using pannettone topped with cinnamon and bananas. The Grand Marnier is my addition. You could leave it out, but I think it gives the dish elegance and a little French ooh, la, la. Who couldn’t use a little French ooh, la, la in their life? This would be perfect for a Christmas day breakfast or a treat for yourself on a snowy morning when you sleep late and want to feel pampered for breakfast.

Panettone French toast with cinnamon and bananas

Panettone French toast with cinnamon and bananas
Adapted from Simply Delicious Food by Fran Warde

4 large eggs
3 tablespoons half & half or light cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier, divided
4 thick slices pannettone
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 firm bananas
Honey or maple syrup, to serve

Put the eggs, cream, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier in a bowl and whisk to blend.  Pour into a shallow, flat bottom dish, add the slices of pannettone, and let soak for 5 minutes. Turn the slices over and let soak an additional 5 minutes.

Heat 4 tablespoons of butter in a large non-stick pan. When the butter is foaming, drain off the excess egg mixture from the pannettone and add the soaked slices to the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden.

Remove the cooked pannettone from the pan and place on a heated serving plate and keep warm in a low oven. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pan and turn heat to medium low. Slice the bananas into the pan along with the 2 remaining tablespoons of Grand Marnier and toss gently for 5 minutes. Spoon the bananas over the pannettone, then drizzle with the honey or maple syrup and dust with cinnamon. Serve hot as soon as possible. Serves 4.

47 comments:

  1. What a great and interesting way to serve french toast.
    I love pannettone and your recipe is perfect when it starts drying out.Thank you,
    Rita

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very festive and soooo delicious!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have never ever had panettone bread. I always see it available and never even considered picking it up because I didn't know what it was. Thanks for this post Sam, might just have to give it a try this season. That French toast looks unbelievably good.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, I love french toast made with panettone and it makes the best bread pudding too. What a wonderful treat for Christmas morning.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I was always a special treat when we saw that familiar red wrapper in mother's grocery bag. That recipe sounds delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That's such a good idea..I make a breakfast French toast casserole if I get near a Pannetone I'll use that! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love panettone and Pandoro (from Verona, it means goldenbread)..last year I baked my first ones....difficult but a very big satisfaction...happy Sunday, ciao Flavia

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow, this looks amazing. I ate french bread a few years ago that had Grand Marnier in it and I've been searching for a recipe that matches it -- this might be the one!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sam, this looks fabulous! You have convinced me to try Panetonne and the Grand Marnier sounds like a great addition to french toast.

    ReplyDelete
  10. french toast with bananas!!! looks amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Well that just makes my pan perdue look plain! Spectacular breakfast, Sam.

    ReplyDelete
  12. My goodness! Would I love to wake up to this Christmas morning Sam. I often wonder what to do with any leftover pannetone!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh what a wonderful way to start the day! This looks amazing!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. You could wake me up any time for this breakfast. Panetones are extremely expensive here. The same by you?

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm not a big fan of sweet breads nor of French toast but I think it would make my husband's Christmas if I fixed something like this. Thanks. Sam!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I thought I made some pretty good breakfasts til I saw this - elegant is a good word for it along with delicious, decadent, awesome, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  17. WonderfulFrench toast. The consistency of the panettone must make it exceptional!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh this is quite an exciting breakfast! I like the different spices, candied fruit, and of course the splash of Grand Marnier makes it oh so good!

    ReplyDelete
  19. that sounds yummy and perfect for a snowy holiday morning.
    hugs,
    penny

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh my. I think I know what I am making on January 1!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Cute story! I love taking breads like this and turning them into French Toast!

    This is just beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm in love. Those bananas look so beautiful! I'd love to have a breakfast like that. Fancy schmancy, indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  23. wow this looks fab, my hubby loves it and yep once the box is opened doesn't last long!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Last year, my sister-in-law gifted me with panettone and I planned on making french toast with it but they were so good, they were gone in one sitting so we had none left for french toast.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love this dish! I make the bread once a year between the holidays and when everyone is home whip up French toast, bread pudding and when that runs out, I go buy some more bread! The origins of the bread are so sweet - like the bread!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Funny you should post this, Sam. I've got Panettone on my mind. If all goes well, I am going to attempt baking it for the first time next weekend. I think my brother will enjoy it with the Marsala wine. Love the story of the origin of the bread. He'll like that, too!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Sam, What a creative, beautiful and delicious looking breakfast! You are the best, for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Ummm, I love things with bananas on them, and I have had this cake. A client used to give them to us in the salon...great recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I love panettone, and what a terrific idea to do a french toast with it, bananas are a great addition.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Panettone is such a fantastic bread...I bet it makes the ultimate French toast! This would be perfect for Christmas brunch!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Ooh la la indeed! What a delightfully decadent riff on Fresh toast, especially for a special occasion. And Grand Marnier would definitely up the "celebration quotient"!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I just picked up a pannettone at Whole Foods. Not sure if it is as tasty as W-S but we love French toast and will give it a try. Now I'm off to your sidebar to check on that Jacques Pepin pizza. Looks like lox and all the trimmings to me!!

    Best,
    Bonnie

    ReplyDelete
  33. We always have panettone toast for breakfast Christmas morning.

    Your recipe sounds delicious, and I will try it this year. Yum!

    ReplyDelete
  34. We always buy a panetone for Christmas breakfast every year. I've made french toast with it a few times in the past and this year I think I'l try your recipe as it looks absolutely delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Delicious! And what a great way to use up some stale Panettone... a lot of people give it as gifts around the holidays and this is a great idea for any remaining pieces.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I love panettone, but never thought in making French toast with it...great idea and will definitely try it...perfect for the Holiday brunch!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I love pannettone, I had baked it some christmas to give away to friends. But this idea is mind blowing. It looks so mouth watering with the bananas. I am taking this recipe with me.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I love panettone & your breakfast looks so appetizing, lovely & wonderful!


    MMMMMMM,..great to make as a delihghtful brunch for me & my husband!

    ReplyDelete
  39. This sounds heavenly! My Oma buys us Pannettone every year for Christmas and I don't know why I never though to use it in french toast before! Fantastic idea :)

    ReplyDelete
  40. I seen pannettone in the stores but have never tried it! What a delicious and beautiful breakfast dish. Now I'm impressed to buy some ;)

    What a coincidence about the Houston Junior League cookbook. It's one of my all-time favorites!

    ReplyDelete
  41. I have never had panettone. What a treat the French toast way.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I have never had pannetone and will be on the hunt for one this holiday. It looks incredible! Thanks for sharing this recipe. The Grand Marnier is a wonderful touch.

    ReplyDelete
  43. French toast panettone sounds as yummy. And yours look truely mouthwatering. yummm.... Hope you're having a wonderful day.
    Blessings, Kristy

    ReplyDelete
  44. I've never had pannetone.It looks incredible. I love Grand Marnier in this dish.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I’ll have to try this because I like panettone bread. Where I used to work the Italian Air Force office would invite us to a small Christmas party and they had many panettone, eggnog and sweets – a table full of panettone.

    ReplyDelete

I enjoy reading each and every comment. If you leave a comment with a question or that requires an answer, please leave an address or way for me to get in touch with you. I appreciate your taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you'll return again soon.
Sam