To make this French Toast a little more special and Easter-appropriate, I'm using Bauli Panettone as the base for this delicious meal. Panettone is a traditional Italian treat served at holiday gatherings. They're packaged in pretty boxes (perfect for gifting to a hostess) and you'll often see them stacked up high at Italian markets around the holidays. If you've never had it before, I would say that panettone is like a mashup of an angel food cake and raisin bread. Loaves are traditionally baked into a tall cylindrical shape and the inside is studded with candied citrus zest and raisins. It's not super sweet in flavor, so it makes the perfect base for French Toast.
And this French Toast is really special. The traditional egg mixture is doctored up with a delicious combination of flavors like pure vanilla, spicy cinnamon, orange juice, and a splash of dark rum. And thick slices of the somewhat dense panettone soak up the mixture really nicely. Thick slices are key here: it give the French toast that great crispy on the outside and soft on the inside quality that you're looking for here.
This French toast would be delicious served with maple syrup or with a fresh berry sauce, but I decided to take it up a notch since this is a special occasion recipe. To pick up some of those delicious citrus flavors in the panettone and in the French Toast batter, I topped the warm French Toast with a sweet and tangy orange mascarpone glaze. The fresh orange flavor makes the glaze bright and fresh and rich mascarpone turns this into a really decadent brunch-- and ups the Italian factor of this recipe too!
This recipe is perfect to serve to a smaller group (like our little family Easter) or can easily be doubled or tripled with a few loaves of panettone for a crowd.
- 1 (26.4-oz.) Bauli il Panettone di Milano cake
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup 2% or whole milk
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 Tbs. dark rum
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 Tbs. light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Butter, for cooking
For the glaze--
- 4 oz. mascarpone, softened at room temperature
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 Tbs. powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
Carefully unwrap the panettone and discard the wrappers. Using a large serrated knife, slice the panettone (from top to bottom) into 3/4-inch slices. Discard the two end slices. Cut the remaining slices down the middle (again, from top to bottom) and select 8 of those slices for the French toast.
In a large shallow dish (like a casserole dish or deep dish pie plate), whisk together the eggs, milk, orange juice, rum, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and cinnamon until combined.
Heat butter on a griddle or large saute pan over medium heat.
Submerge panettone slices in the egg mixture one at time, turning gently to evenly coat both sides. Allow excess egg mixture to drip off the panettone and then add to the pan and cook until the bottom of the slice is golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Flip each slice and continue to cook until the other side is golden as well. Repeat with remaining slices.
For the glaze--
Whisk mascarpone, 1/4 cup orange juice, powdered sugar, and orange zest together in a medium bowl until well combined and smooth. At this point, look at the texture and decide if you'd like to add more juice for a thinner glaze. Continue whisking, adding more juice as needed, until desired consistency is achieved.
Serve the French toast warm, drizzle glaze over the top, and serve.
Editor's Note: Products were provided at no cost in order to facilitate this post. The opinions expressed here, as always, are my own.