Panettone. Is it bread? Is it cake? Why does it smell so synthetic? And why does it never go off? Who knows, and who cares, it's delicious. There aren't many things you can do with it other than putting it your mouth and bread and butter pudding, so here's a recipe for the latter. Not only is it incredible, but it's foolproof and you can prepare it in advance making it perfect for dinner parties.
Adapt to how much panettone you have
20g butter, plus extra to grease
1/2 panettone (approx 500g), cut into thick slices
2 whole eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
4 tbsp caster sugar
300ml double cream
400ml whole milk
1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3. Use a little butter to grease a nice large baking dish that fits the panettone snugly. Sit the slices in the dish, slightly overlapping.
In a mixing bow, beat the eggs and yolks with the sugar until slightly lightened and fluffy.
Place the cream, milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Gently bring to the boil, and just as you begin to see little bubbles around the edge, slowly pour over the eggs, whisking constantly. Discard the vanilla, then pour the custard over the panettone, pushing the slices below the surface. You want the liquid to just reach the top of bread, so add a little extra cream or milk if this isn't the case.
Dot the surface with the butter, then place in the oven for 45 minutes, until golden on top and the custard has set, but the middle still has a slight wobble. Err on the side of under-cooking if you're not sure as it's actually even better when it's not quite set. Serve at room temp or reheat quickly in the oven. Serve with extra cream (if you dare).