In Italy, Christmas is not Christmas without a (or many) panettone. No panettone at Christmas would be like New Year without shortbread, Burns Night minus the haggis or a Scottish breakfast without black pudding!
Throughout my childhood, out house was always full with family over the Christmas period. With great excitement, I’d run to answer the door, desperate to see my cousins, and every time, without fail, a candied fruit Panettone would be placed into my outstretched arms by a zia (aunt) as I opened the door. She’d say “Boun Natale” and I’d think “not another panettone!”
They were always placed near the table to be enjoyed after dinner but I don’t remember them ever being opened following a marathon Italian Christmas dinner. Therefore, my mum’s mission from January to March was to make sure that not a crumb of these panettone went to waste. Anyone who came to the door, over that period, including the postman, would be offered a slice of panettone. It made it on to the menu for every meal in the Celino house, even breakfast which consisted of panettone toasted with butter or ripped in small pieces with warm milk poured over it. My mum would turn it into a fantastic dessert, Panettone Bread and Butter Pudding (always a firm favourite on the Celino’s Christmas Menu) – see the recipe below.
Nowadays, over Christmas, you’re just as likely to see panettone in UK supermarket aisles as you are to see Christmas cake and boxes of shortbread. However, like anything, there are different levels of panettone. At Celino’s we are focused on only selling the top quality award winning brands which, this year, are Fraccaro (Castelfranco, Veneto), Balocco (Cuneo, Piedmont), Bonifanti (Turin) and Fiasconaro (Castelbuono, Sicily). Flavours vary from traditional candied fruit and raisin to cream of sweetened pistachio. If you’re going to have panettone this year don’t settle on any cheap imitations, treat yourself and your loved ones to the very best so that whether you eat it on Christmas day or have it for breakfast on a cold February morning, toasted with lashings of butter, it tastes stupendo!!
Panettone Bread & Butter Pudding - serves 6
- 300g of Celino’s Classic Fruit Panettone, sliced 3cm thick
- 3 free range eggs
- Butter for spreading
- 3 tablespoons of castor sugar
- 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
- 300ml double cream (plus 150ml for pouring at serving time, optional)
- Whisk the eggs and sugar until light and pale using an electric hand whisk (Approx 5 mins)
- Add the maple syrup, vanilla essence and double cream and whisk on medium speed for 2 mins
- Butter the thick slices of panettone on one side
- Tear the panettone into cubes and place them butter side down on a Pyrex or non-stick oven dish
- Pour the pudding mixture over the panettone and allow the pannetone cubes to stick out as they will toast up well in the oven
- Place the oven dish in a roasting tin and pour hot water around the outer sides of the dish until it reaches half way up the outside of the dish
- Place in a pre-heated oven at 140 degrees (fan assisted) and bake for 35 minutes
- Serve with double cream and/or glazed cherries on top