Panettone is the Italian version of fruitcake -- too often given as a holiday gift and too often just down right inedible. It's a traditional Christmas sweet bread dotted with raisins, candied orange peel and citron that originates from Milan. The majority of panettone that is found in the Unites States is sold in cardboard boxes in the grocery store and to be honest, tastes pretty much like cardboard itself.
Don't get us wrong, there is such a thing as great panettone. The best panettone is the one you bake yourself. A handful of bakeries, such as Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City, also continue to make delicious loaves.
But what happens when you are gifted one of those boxed monstrosities from a friend or co-worker? Smile and say thank you, but then go home and repurpose it. Otherwise, it may sit unopened in the back of your pantry, collecting dust until you uncover it come July (when, by some mericle of science, it will still be technically edible).
Don't let this happen to you.
The classic solution for any sort of dry bread is to mix it with plenty of milk or cream and make bread pudding. That's Panettone Reuse 101. Here, some next-level strategies to making the most out of an uninspired situation:
MAKE A PANZANELLA SALAD
This is a winter twist on the Italian panzanella salad. Typically made in the peak of summer with ripe, juicy tomatoes and day-old bread, this version is made with panettone croutons, brussels sprouts, apples, and crispy pancetta.
Get the Recipe: Panettone Panzanella with Pancetta and Brussels Sprouts
This may be the simplest way to make panettone better -- slather slices with orange butter, sprinkle them with a heavy hand of sugar and cardamom, and bake until golden and bubbling. Enjoy it for breakfast or with a dollop of freshly whipped cream for dessert.
Get the Recipe: Cardamom and Orange Panettone Toast
Panettone is a great substitute for your standard go-to stale loaf in any stuffing recipe. Here stuffing is transformed into a seasonal party snack, to be cut into squares and served over cocktails.
Get the Recpe: Panettone Dressing Squares
MAKE FRENCH TOAST
Panettone is also a great candidate for french toast. This seasonal version is perfect for a lazy Sunday morning or as part of your holiday breakfast spread. And seeing as it's the holidays, a splash of dark rum in the eggy batter is a welcome addition.