, Gloucester, MA

December 12, 2012

Panettone for the 12 days of Christmas

Pat's Kitchen
Patricia Altomare

---- — For years these colorful boxes have been on our supermarket shelves and I, for one, have always wondered about them; what exactly is panettone? Are they fresh? What do they taste like?

Though I married into an Italian family, I don’t recall seeing or hearing panettone mentioned. Then, a few years ago, I attended a Christmas brunch in a hotel dining room where it was suggested that I try the panettone bread pudding. It was gorgeous to look at, dotted with red and green citrus peel, with a generous dollop of real whipped cream. It was delicious, and all of us were commenting as to how good it was and “where was this all our lives?” Well, ‘we didn’t live in Italy’ is the answer, where panettone presides over the 12 days of Christmas in many homes for breakfast, tea, and dessert.

I recently bought two at the supermarket to try for myself, plain with no garnishes. At first I thought it a bit dry, but after a few bites, I realized it really wasn’t dry; it was because it is a “fluffy and light” yeast bread, not dense at all. It is not-too-sweet and lightly dotted with dried fruit. A neighbor joined me for tea where I served it again. We could have lightly spread it with a little butter, but it was enjoyable as was with our hot tea, and both of us liked that it wasn’t too sweet.


for Breakfast

I urge you to make Panettone French Toast for one of your holiday breakfasts; it would be such a festive addition.


Cut 1-inch slices of panettone. For every four slices, whisk together 4 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Dip bread in egg mixture, and fry in a mixture of equal parts butter and vegetable oil until golden brown. Keep warm on a baking sheet in a 250 degree oven. Serve with maple syrup.

Iced Panettone

Whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel (zest), and 2 tablespoons light rum or orange juice. Drizzle mixture over panettone.

Ice Cream-Filled


Hollow out the top of the panettone; save the top for another use. Spoon in your favorite ice cream flavor (pistachio or rum-raisin go well with other flavors in the bread). Sprinkle with additional pistachio nuts or raisins. If desired, wrap and freeze overnight before serving. Unwrap and let stand at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Display the dessert, decked in seasonal finery, on a raised cake stand surrounded by items such as a few greens, whole nuts, small shiny ornaments, or small pinecones.

Cut panettone in horizontal slices with a knife dipped in hot water. Top with more ice cream if desired.

Good to hear

from you

Hi Pat,

Some time ago you had a column titled “Cheese quiche with an apple side.” I cut out the recipe but I do not know what I did with the part that was continued on page 14, which was the instructions on how to put it together. I made it and just put everything in a bowl and whisked it and baked it for 45 minutes at 375. It was good but not light like you described it. Can you send me the directions?

Thank you, JM

Dear JM,

Yes, that recipe had specific instructions that differed from the usual quiche; it kind of made its own shell while cooking. I have sent the recipe to you and I hope you enjoy it.

Dear Pat,

I like to make my own stock. Do you have a good way to keep it in the frig so that it will last? I have used some of your tips in the past which were handy.

Thanks in advance,

Michelle, Andover

Dear Michelle,

I like to use homemade stock as it has a more intense flavor and no sodium. I feel organized when I have chicken and beef stock ready to go when a recipe calls for it (which isn’t as often as I’d like).

The next time you make a batch of stock or have some left over from a store-bought package, ladle it into 1-cup muffin tins and place them in the freezer. After the stock is frozen, pop the portions out of the tin, store them in resealable freezer bags and label them with the flavor and date.

Cordially, Pat

Patricia Altomare invites feedback. Email her at, or write care of Gloucester Daily Times, 36 Whittemore St., Gloucester, MA 01930.