Are you afraid of Panettone? It is one of my most favorite holiday time treats. But I find that many people have never tried it and don’t know of it’s awesomeness. I don’t really know why. My guess is that it is new (to them) and people don’t try things because they are afraid they won’t like them. It most often is sold in a box and you can’t really tell what is inside. Maybe that puts people off. Or maybe when people read the description they wrongly accuse Panettone of being fruit cake. I assure you. It is not. Well, it is, but not like fruit cake, fruit cake.
I’m going to break it down for you. Panettone almost always is sold in a box. And what you are seeing is dried fruits. But I implore you to pick one up and give it a try. You will thank me! You should start seeing these boxes in stores pretty soon as this is an Italian holiday tradition that can easily be found. There are tons of versions and you will see it in places like Trader Joe’s and World Market as well as local grocery stores. But they are not all created equal. More on that in a minute.
Although it is called a “cake” it is similar to a loaf of bread (but not – have I totally confused you yet?). Once you open the box, you will find the cake inside a plastic bag used to help ensure freshness. I usually save the bag to put the unused portion back in.
While you might be just starting out on your Panettone journey I consider myself somewhat of a Panttone snob. Many years ago I grabbed a box on a whim because I needed to know what this Panttone business was all about. One bite and I was hooked. Because my family knows how much I enjoy it, they now pick them up for me when they see them, so I have tried several brands. I can tell from the very first smell upon bag removal if it is a “good” one. This Bauducco version is a very good one (find it here). The smell is fragrant with orange and sweet with raisins. In my opinion, you can tell how flavorful the cake is going to be by the smell. Just remove the paper wrapping and its ready to eat.
My all time favorite way to eat Panettone is toasted with butter. What you can’t tell from these images is how light this bread is! When you pick up a box it might feel heavy to you. Trust me, when you slice off a portion, you will start to see how fluffy and airy it is. Panettone is my favorite fall breakfast treat. I take a portion that is entirely too large for the average person and put it under the broiler to toast both sides. When it gets golden brown and crusty, I take it out and slap on some salted whipped butter. Gah! So good!
I have to admit I haven’t tried too many recipes using Panettone yet. At some point I will be making bread pudding with it because I can imagine how amazing it is from the way it tastes on its own. Bauducco shares many recipes on their website and this one, called Romeo and Juliet, caught my eye. I never, in a million years, thought I would find Guava Marmalade. But I found it at my local grocery store on my first attempt.
You simply put a little marmalade and cream cheese on small pieces of Panettone and heat in the oven until slightly melty. OMG! My expectations were low. I’m not a huge fan of cream cheese and I already love the Panettone so I thought, how could it be better? Guess what. Delish! The Guava Marmalade adds a sweet/tartness to the bread and the cheese adds the most delightful creamy element. I love how adding these two ingredients took it from being bread to a little treat you could entertain with.
I hope you will try Panettone this season (Bauducco makes a chocolate chip version too!). And you know that the best hostess gifts are those things you normally wouldn’t buy for yourself. Consider picking a few up for those holiday parties you will be attending. Once you try this, I know it will become part of your holiday tradition like it has for me. And let me know what you think of it!
Disclosure: On occasion, I receive products, compensation and/or services gratis or at discounted rates. This practice does not influence my point of view or the outcome of the review. All descriptions are factual and accurately reflect my experience. The opinions are my own.
See more Bauducco recipes here.