I love Italian Christmas cakes, especially panettone. In Italy, it’s commonly given as a small a gift when invited over to friend’s home for dinner around the holiday season. I usually end up with boxes of the stuff piled up in my kitchen wondering: how I will ever eat all of this leftover panettone?
Shaped like a giant dome, panettone is a light and fluffy cake, with bits of dried fruit, usually candied citrus fruit and raisins, speckled throughout. Its origins come from the Milan area, although today panettone is enjoyed all over Italy and even the world. If you happen to be in Italy your best bet is to buy one from a local pastry shop. It’ll be more expensive (around 12-18 euros per kilogram), but much better quality than the store bought kind. However, if you’re not in Italy, my personal favorite panettone brand is G.Cova & C. Panettone. They use all natural flavorings, including natural yeast (lievito madre) and top quality candied fruits. I’ve seen them in Eataly and other Italian specialty stores, but you can also find it online here.
By itself, panettone is great to eat as a dessert. Personally, I prefer to eat giant chunk for breakfast with a cup of coffee. Still, there’s only so much panettone I can eat for breakfast before I start to get a little bored of the stuff. Don’t get me wrong – I love it – but it’s a REALLY big cake to eat.
Still, I refuse to let it go to waste. It’s time to get a little creative in the kitchen, my friends. How many different ways can you use leftover panettone? While the possibilities are endless, here are six of my favorite ways to use up your leftover panettone while giving your tastebuds a change in flavor.
6 Ways to Use Lefover Panettone
I know it sounds so simple, but toasting a slice of panettone completely changes the flavors and texture. Slice it, toast it in the oven for a few minutes, and spread on a bit of butter, cream cheese, or jam. This is a really quick and easy breakfast and one of my personal favorites.
2. FRENCH TOAST
Follow any french toast recipe you’d like and just substitute regular bread for slices of panettone. It works best if the panettone is a bit stale before soaking it in the egg, so go ahead and leave it out on the counter uncovered for a day or two.
3. PANETTONE TIRAMISU
Here you can replace the classic lady fingers with slices of panettone. In lieu of a coffee liqueur, you could try any orange liqueur which would bring out the flavors of the citrus in the panettone and instead of chocolate on stop, sprinkle with bits of dried fruit and nuts.
4. BREAD PUDDING
Again, use any bread pudding recipe you want, just substitute the regular bread with cubes of panettone. You could also add in your own flavorings such as vanilla extract or orange zest.
5. CHEESECAKE CRUST
I saw this idea in La Cucina Italiana magazine and thought it was genius! All you have to do is crumble the panettone with your fingers, mix with a bit of melted butter, and press into the bottom of a springform pan. Toast the crust for just a few minutes in the oven and then cover with your preferred cheesecake filling. I suggest a ricotta or mascarpone cheesecake, with something fruity or citrus-flavored on top such as candied orange peels.
6. SWEET + SAVORY SIDE DISHES
If you like mixing your sweet with your salty, then this is for your. Toast cubes of panettone and mix it in leafy green salad or with roasted vegetables (like brussel sprouts). I love this idea because you get to have your vegetables and your cake too. It’s a good compromise between trying to get back into a healthy diet and trying not to let food go to waste!
Have any other leftover panettone ideas? Let me know in the comments below! Cheers xx