Ahhh, brunch. Who doesn’t love something eggy and sweet on a lazy Sunday morning, washed down with a strong cup of coffee? Bottomless mimosas? Yes, please. But you know what I don’t love? Waiting in lines. Like, ever. My poor husband must witness, in horror, as I devolve into madness if I have to wait even five minutes for anything. He’s such a trooper.
So as much as I love brunch, or maybe just the concept of it, I can’t do the waiting thing. Especially when I can make some delicious goodness in my home. No lines, no loud “brunchin’ betches” all wearing the same hat and sunglasses, who all talk like Kim Kardashian. Just me, my husband, some friends, my puppies, coffee, and mimosas.
I love making french toast out of pannettone because it’s a really sweet, rich brioche bejeweled with dried fruit. It’s usually only available around Christmas time. I always have a couple of packages left over from the holidays specifically for making this french toast. I’ve also made a really yummy bread pudding, which you can find here.
So let’s talk about equipment. You’re going to need:
- a shallow baking pan
- parchment paper
- a pie plate or other shallow dish with high sides to dunk the slices of bread
- a spatula
- an electric griddle or griddle pan (I prefer an electric griddle since you can easily control the temperature)
- an oven
- a bread knife
- a large cutting board
This is a pretty easy recipe and you won’t have to dirty up a lot of bowls or pots and pans. Also, the secret to great french toast? Actually toasting the bread in the oven to dry it out. The reason why is because if you use fresh, moist bread and then dunk it in a liquid before cooking it, you’re going to end up with soggy french toast. You know, the kind that just looks squishy and flattens out when you press the edge of your fork against it. If you toast the bread before dunking it into the custard, the bread maintains its shape and holds onto more of the custard. Now that you know the secret, let’s get started.
Pannettone French Toast
- 1 lb loaf of classic pannettone
- 2/3 c. of half and half
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 tsp of orange extract (or 1 tsp of vanilla)
- butter, non-stick spray, or sunflower oil to grease the griddle pan
- maple syrup, butter, and/or whipped cream for serving
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the baking sheet pan with parchment paper. Take the pannettone out of the package, removing all wrapping and paper. Using the bread knife, cut off the very top of the loaf to flatten it out. Then cut the loaf crosswise into 4 even slices. Alternatively, you could cut the loaf into 6 even wedges (like a cake), without slicing off the top to even it out. Place the slices evenly onto the baking pan lined with parchment. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the slices are lightly browned and feel dry. Set aside to cool completely.
As the toasted pannettone cools, set the oven to 170F. Set your electric griddle to 350F. In a pie plate, beat together the eggs, half & half, and orange (or vanilla) extract.
If you have a non-stick griddle like me, you don’t need to grease it. However, if you’re going to grease it, use a non-stick cooking spray, butter, or sunflower oil. Once the griddle is ready, you’re going to start dipping your slices into the custard.
Drench each slice for a couple of seconds, dipping on each side a few times. You want the bread to soak up the custard until it becomes moist, but don’t drench the slices to the point that they fall apart.
Once the slice of bread is appropriately soaked, slap it onto the griddle to cook. Continue with the rest of the slices.
Cook the slices until both sides are browned and the center of the custard feels set (in other words, the center doesn’t feel wet and squishy when your press it with your finger). This will take about 4 to 5 minutes on each side.
You may not have enough room on your griddle for all the slices. That’s okay. That’s why you’ve still got the oven on at a low temperature. When the slices are done, and you’re making room on the griddle, put the done slices on the parchment lined baking pan and put it in the oven while the rest of the slices cook. I often put all of the done slices on the baking pan and let it hang out in the low temperature oven for a few minutes while I do a quick clean up and get the dishes, utensils, and other french toast accoutrements together.
Serve your french toast with butter, maple syrup, and whipped cream. Of course, you should wash it down with a strong cup of coffee and mimosas. Enjoy!