This is another breakfast that I made for Christmas brunch, only this time it was for my parents in Missouri. The town in which they live has a limited selection of groceries so I had to bring a big box of panettone with me on the plane. But it was with it.
The recipe was presented by Giada De Laurentiis on her show "Everyday Italian," or as my mom calls it "Cooking With Cleavage." ("Seriously," my mom asked. "Can't she put those things away?") It's a very festive sort of meal so I would save it for a special occasion or a holiday. Between the bread embedded with nuts and candied fruit, the custard in which it's soaked, and the accompanying syrup, after eating this you'll want to take a nap until dinner.
1 (1.1 pound; 500 gram) loaf panettone bread, baking paper removed
6 large eggs
3/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (optional)
Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Trim the bottom crust of the panettone. Starting at the bottom end of the panettone, cut it crosswise into 6 (3/4-inch thick) round slices (reserve the top piece for toast!). In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended. Add the cream, milk, and sugar and whisk until well mixed.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter on a large nonstick griddle over medium heat. Dip slices of panettone into the custard, turning to allow both sides to absorb the custard, but not too long, or the panettone will turn to mush. Grill the panettone slices until they are golden brown and firm to the touch, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the French toast to a baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining butter, panettone slices, and custard.
Transfer the French toast to plates. Dollop the mascarpone atop each. Lightly dust with the powdered sugar. Drizzle the cinnamon syrup over and around the French toast and serve immediately.