Holiday Breakfast: Panettone French Toast

December 22, 2010 § 1 Comment

I am a huge French Toast fan and am always looking for ways to spruce up the classic.  I am always pondering ways to give the classic a twist – whether it be by using a new kind of bread or croissants.  Given that we are in the middle of the winter holiday season, Italian Panettone seems to be the natural choice to stand in for the trusty French bread.

Panettone are a traditional Italian sweet bread that is made for Christmas and New Year (Italians out there, correct me if I get any of this wrong).  It traditionally takes on a round cake or cupola shape and weighs about one and a half pounds.  I dream of the day I find myself in Milan around Christmas time so I could enjoy a fresh baked Panettone in its natural habitat.

But even here in the states, Panettone are easily acquired if you know where to look.  You can seek out an Italian family member or friend to ship you the original (I am still working on this option myself), pick one up at your local Italian deli (I am fortunate to have this option) or grocery store (some have them handy in time for the holidays), or you can order them online.

I used my usual classic French toast recipe for the egg mixture — whenever trying new recipes I like to switch up one major ingredient at a time so that I know which substitution yields which result.  My husband was the guinea pig this time and I he was certainly not complaining.  The Panettone is so fluffy and soft that it absorbs the egg mixture perfectly.

The final result is one of the fluffiest French toast textures I have ever tasted – the delicate texture is a perfect accompaniment to the raisins in the Panettone and the fruit topping gives it that little something extra.  There is almost a bread pudding type of quality to the middle sections of each slice.  In fact, I might try this as a bread pudding next time.  Will share when I do…

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did — let me know how yours turns out!

Ingredients:

French Toast

  • 1/2 of a Pannetone cake, sliced into evenly cut slices
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

Topping

  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (or raw sugar)
  • powdered sugar

Directions:

French Toast

Topping

To serve

The Canning Experiment

August 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

Happy first day of fall! To celebrate, I decided to experiment with making my own raspberry preserves. I have been reading about all the small batch jam-making (like here) and decided it was time to give it a try. So here it goes,

The mission: to make 2 jars of raspberry jam.

The ingredients:

Note: some recipes recommend using equal weight fruit to sugar — I decided to try a low-sugar approach to how it would turn out. The 2:1 ratio of fruit to sugar works for me, but feel free to improvise to taste.

Making it happen:

Combine all the ingredients in a pot and cook at a low temperature for until the mixture turns into a nice liquid goo and starts to simmer. This will probably take anywhere from 20-40 minutes. Let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes and then take it off the heat and let it cool.

In order to make jam properly, you apparently have to let it ‘set,’ which means letting it cool and then turning up the heat again to the sugars coagulate. So cool the mixture for an hour or so and then put it back onto low heat. When you place it back on the low heat, you will notice in about 5-7 minutes that the mixture changes consistency and becomes thicker. That’s what you want! Time to take it off the heat and can.

Scoop the mixture into sterilized jars (do not reuse old jars, as this can cause bacteria to grow inside the lids). I found that a funnel helps with this process. Because the mixture is very warm, it will cause the lid to seal once you put it on (allowing you to get that ‘pop’ sound from the lid the first time you open it).

Ta-da!!!

Enjoy!

This was my first time canning anything and I welcome any feedback, observations, tips, etc. 🙂

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