I sure hope he doesn't find out about me and the goodies in my freezer. Or the wine cellar in the basement. Let's just pray the incessant barking of my dogs (which used to make me crazy, but not so much now) will lead him to believe that my house is SO not worth breaking into.
Which brings me to the point (sort of) here. That would be Rocco's and their amazing panettone. If you've never had it, it's a cylindrical Italian sweet bread that is studded with candied orange, citron, lemon zest and raisins. It's to die for. It has nothing to do with a Claxton fruitcake. It's delicious. I may be Jewish, but I want it on the table for my Christmas breakfast! It's that good.
But, wait ... THEY DON'T SHIP!
Enter my sister Barbara. Rocco's might not ship, but she does. So we came home from the dysfunctional family trip to find it waiting on our doorstep. So happy the burglar didn't find it first!
What to do? I'm the food police right now, so leaving it around for Henry or me to take a slice for breakfast isn't an option. The only reasonable solution is to just blow it out and send it into caloric overload. Are you with me here? I'm talking panettone bread pudding.
We had friends for dinner over here last night, so I knew I could experiment. I got lucky. It was really, really good. Oh screw that. It was fabulous, even if I do say so myself. And, it was enhanced by the blood orange caramel sauce that I made on the fly. I'd order this again!
PANETTONE BREAD PUDDING
2 loaves (cylinders) store-bought Panettone (from Rocco's if you are lucky)
8 extra-large eggs
4 cups half-and-half
4 cups whole milk
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Mandarin Napolean brandy, or any other brandy or alcohol of choice (optional)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup turbinado (raw) sugar
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Cut panettone into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Spread out on two half sheet pans and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, turn cubes with a large spatula and return to oven for another 10 minutes or until golden and crispy. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Butter a large baking dish (15 x 11 x 3.5). Pour bread mixture in then drizzle the heavy cream over the top. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Place the baking dish into a larger pan filled with hot water (bain-marie) and place in the preheated oven on the middle rack.
Bake for 1 hour at 350-degrees until edges are firm but middle is still very wobbly. Cover loosely with foil to prevent over-browning and bake for another 20 minutes or until middle is just set. It should still shake ever-so-slightly.
Let cool for at least 30 minutes then spoon into serving dishes. Top liberally with Blood Orange Caramel Sauce (recipe follows) and softly whipped unsweetened cream.
6 blood oranges
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar