What is a holiday meal without a Barefoot Contessa recipe???? I don't think you can actually consider it a holiday! This is my one "new" recipe that I am experimenting with this evening. I saw it demonstrated on Ina's show, and then found a Panettone at Trader Joe's. How fortuitous! Panettone is not easy to find in Arizona; I only see them around Christmastime. Obviously, I was meant to try this dish!!!
Panettone is an Italian eggy, cake-like, sweet bread that is usually studded with dried, candied fruit...but it is not a fruit cake! I think the one I have has raisins and candied orange peel in it. I think it originated in Norther Italy, and is a very traditional treat this time of year. It is light and flavorful and it makes great French Toast, too. I am looking forward to trying this new application.
Panettone Bread Pudding
1 Italian panettone, about 1.2 pounds
Unsalted butter, for greasing the dish
3 extra-large whole eggs
8 extra-large egg yolks
5 cups half-and-half
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Trim the dark brown outer crust from the panettone. Cut the rest of the loaf in 1-inch cubes and place on a sheet pan in a single layer. Toast the panettone for 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
Grease a 9 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish with the butter. Place the panettone cubes in the baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, half-and-half, vanilla and almond extracts and sugar. Pour this custard mixture over the panettone. Set aside for 10 minutes so the bread soaks up the custard. Scatter the sliced almonds over the top of the pudding.
Place the baking dish into a larger pan and add very hot tap water to the larger pan until it's halfway up the side of the baking dish. Cover the larger pan with aluminum foil, tenting the foil so it doesn't touch the pudding. Cut a few holes in the foil to allow steam to escape. Bake the pudding for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40 to 45 more minutes, until the custard is set and the top of the pudding is light golden brown. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.