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!
- 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
- 1 cup frozen mixed berries
- 3 tablespoons sugar (or raw sugar)
- powdered sugar
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream, milk, eggs, orange juice, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg
- Place a few Panettone slices into the bowl to absorb the mixture (a good rule of thumb for how many to put in at a time is to put in as many as will fit without crowding or overlapping), let soak for 2 minutes and flip so that both sides absorb the mixture equally
- Butter and heat griddle to med-high
- When the Panettone is finished soaking, place them on the griddle and cook evenly on both sides (about 2 minutes on each side)
- Repeat until all the Panettone French toast are done
- In a small sauce pan, combine the frozen mixed berries and sugar and bring to a simmer
- Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the liquid reduces to a syrup
- Plate the Panettone French Toast and top with butter, topping, and powdered sugar
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.
- 6 cups of fresh raspberries
- 3 cups of sugar (see Note, below)
- Orange zest
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).
This was my first time canning anything and I welcome any feedback, observations, tips, etc. 🙂
March 25, 2010 § 1 Comment
This recipe comes from my sister, Yelena, who makes the most amazing banana bread! Its nutty and sweet and just heavenly! This makes a great tea-time accompaniment and is sinfully yummy for breakfast with coffee.
Yelena’s Banana Bread:
As a sweet mid-week treat, I have found banana bread to be quite delectable. It lasts throughout the weekend, and is great to snack on or as dessert. This recipe is definitely a crowd pleaser!
To begin, you will need three bowls – small, medium, and large. For the baking part, you’ll need a small (8”x4”) bread pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine the dry ingredients in the large bowl and set aside:
1 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
You will also need:
4-5 semi-brown bananas
1/3 melted (and slightly cooled) butter
1 tsp vanilla
½ – 1 cup chocolate chips
½ – 1 cup chopped walnuts
In the medium bowl, mash up the bananas until they are a thick, soupy consistency; set aside.
In the small bowl, beat the eggs. Add the butter and vanilla.
Once well mixed, add these contents of the small bowl to the bananas in the medium bowl. Mix well.
If desired, add chocolate chips and chopped walnuts – both create great texture in the final product! Mix well.
Finally, combine the wet ingredients (banana and egg mixture) with the dry ingredients in the large bowl.
Pour the final mixture into the greased bread pan. Place in the oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, testing with a fork in the final minutes for readiness.
Once ready, let cool, and enjoy!