The end of the week often -- let's not lie...always -- finds me already dreaming of weekend brunch. I'm a big fan of making good use of everything in my pantry, and when I came across a yet-unopened box of Maina Il Gran Panettone, the sweet Milanese bread traditionally served at Christmastime, "French toast" inspiration struck. Preparing a classic French Toast egg mixture and battering my panettone slices accordingly, this candied fruit-filled winter treat was transformed into the perfect breakfast fare, especially when accompanied by savory sausages and freshly cut strawberries!
Panettone French Toast
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, half-and-half, or milk
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
6 slices (1-inch-thick) panettone, preferably day old
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Pure maple syrup, for serving (optional)
Whisk together eggs, cream, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
Place bread in a shallow baking dish large enough to hold panettone slices in a single layer. Pour egg mixture over bread; soak 10 minutes. Turn slices over; soak until soaked through, about 10 minutes more.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet, and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry half the panettone slices until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to wire rack; place in oven while cooking remaining bread. Wipe skillet, and repeat with remaining butter, oil, and bread. Keep in oven until ready to serve. Serve warm with pure maple syrup, if desired.