RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Panettone French Toast

OK. I have to kind of pre-apologize for this recipe. I know its close to New Years Resolution time and all, and this recipe is really not on that regime whatsoever. Its decadent and delicious. But it is great for brunch guests for sure, which you still may have between now and New Years Day. This makes great use of left over Chocolate Panettone. We Italians always have a plethora of these holiday sweet breads around the house. Unfortunately, I end up nibbling the left overs a week after opening it, not helping with my will power. So, I decided yesterday, the way I see it, get the eating of the leftovers in one sit down and than you can get back to your diet. This is a great recipe to use it all up.



If you have just the plain panettone versus the chocolate, I would spice things up with some coffee/espresso and cinnamon, or even mixed spices with a little orange juice. Also, I have included a couple recipes for some whipped mascarpone cream you could dollop on top if you wish. We just used syrup but if you wanted to be all fancy with guests, this would be a lovely addition.

Baked Chocolate Panettone French Toast

Ingredients

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (2% or full fat)
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
Butter
3/4 to a whole chocolate covered and/or filled panettone, sliced 1/2" thick
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 cup cocoa powder
Maple syrup for garnish
Hazelnut or Almond Mascarpone Creme (optional)


Directions

Preheat oven to 400˚, with a rack in the middle of the oven, and one at the top.


Generously butter 1 or 2 rectangular Pyrex pans, depending on how many slices you have. In a bowl, whisk eggs, condensed milk and regular milk. Add the vanilla and cocoa, whisk some more.


Dip each bread slice in the batter, let drip, than lay in the pan. Continue with all the slices, fitting them snugly in the pan. With the left over batter, divide between two pans, pouring evenly over the slices. With the back of a spoon, push down on the bread so it soaks up the batter, taking care to see if stiff, dry ends need special attention. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, tilting the pan around periodically do the bread absorbs all the liquid.


Bake at 400˚ for about 20 min on the middle rack. Bread will have absorbed all the liquid and beginning to puff up. Raise temp to 425˚, and place pans on the top rack for 3-5 minutes. This will add a crisp, golden color.

Serve warm with maple syrup and if you wish, mascarpone creme.



For the hazelnut mascarpone crème from gildedfork.com
 
1 tablespoon hazelnut cream paste (such as Nutella)
½ cup mascarpone cheese
1 dash freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Whip until light and fluffy, serve.

For the almond mascarpone crème

 2 cups mascarpone cheese 
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp. almond extract or Amaretto


Whip until light and fluffy, serve.

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