A special make-ahead breakfast for Christmas morning. Thick slices of panettone or another bread are soaked overnight in eggnog, then buttered and baked, sprinkled with powder sugar and then, spooned with a delicious apple and cranberry sauce.
One year, an Italian fruit bread called panettone [pan-uh-TOH-nee] appeared beneath the Christmas tree. Ever since, it’s been an essential holiday ingredient.
Panettone makes lovely toast, lightly textured and barely sweet. It has replaced lady fingers in our Christmas trifle. Last year, we made Eggnog French Toast on Christmas morning and this year, by popular demand, it will return, the new family tradition.
Panettone comes in large festive boxes and is easy to find before Christmas, if you look. The Italian groceries on The Hill sell panettone and I’ve also seen it in local groceries and even stores like Home Goods, World Market and Trader Joe’s.
UPDATE Use panettone to make Christmas Trifle too!
EGGNOG FRENCH TOAST with
APPLE CRANBERRY COMPOTE
- 2 eggs (see TIPS)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups milk (low-fat is good)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (for French toast, peppermint for drinking)
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Brandy to taste (omit for French toast, optional for drinking)
EGGNOG FRENCH TOAST
- 8 slices panettone (from half a two-pound loaf) or another good bread such as challah
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups homemade eggnog (or commercial eggnog)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- Melted butter
- Powdered sugar
HOMEMADE EGGNOG Whisk eggnog ingredients. Makes 2-1/2 cups, reserve half cup for the cook!
EGGNOG FRENCH TOAST Whisk eggs, 2 cups eggnog and spices. Drizzle some of the eggnog mixture over the bottom of a glass or ceramic dish, then arrange bread in a single layer. Pour the eggnog mixture over top. Cover, refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 450F. Brush slices on both sides with butter. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet, bake for 15 minutes. Turn slices over, bake another 15 minutes or until golden brown and slightly puffy.
TO SERVE Transfer French toast to plates and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Top with warm apple cranberry compote. Buon appetito!
HOW MUCH BREAD For a double batch, I used 1-1/2 pounds of Great Harvest's cranberry orange bread, twas plenty. I used a double layer of bread for soaking, making sure that the first layer was pretty wet before adding the second.
HALVING THE RECIPE For a half batch, there was less soaking liquid than needed. (In this batch, I also used the Great Harvest bread and only soaked the slices 4 hours. Either one might have contributed. I do believe that the bread should soak overnight, not just a few hours.)
The slightly tart Apple Cranberry Compote and the slightly sweet Eggnog French Toast are a beautiful combination.
Homemade Eggnog is light for drinking (none of that heavy stuff from the carton) and wonderful in French toast.
More Make-Ahead Recipes for Christmas Morning
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