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MY FAVORITE Christmas panettone pudding

This post is in collaboration with 



My Christmas contribution to the family lunch is to set the table and I'm also in charge of all of the desserts - a panettone pudding with all the trimmings, homemade brand snaps (my Grandmothers recipe) and sometimes a 3rd option depending how many people are coming. I head out to my parents on Christmas eve, a 15min drive from my place, and Dad and I try to figure out the table arrangements. Every year we have extra guests, my Mum and brothers especially love to invite people but it's up to Dad and to figure out how everyone is going to fit in. It's usually a jigsaw of mismatch tables covered with white sheets for tablecloths (Mum has 'special sheets', especially for the tables, just in case you were wondering). The table is then covered with candles, flowers, Mum's crystal and my Grandmothers silver - by this stage you don't even recognize the white sheets ;) Mum is in the background doing her mountain of food prep to Mariah's Christmas album on repeat and the kids are playing outside. 

Later on, Christmas Eve when Aary finishes work, we have a drink together, the kids have hot chocolates with homemade marshmallows and open their Christmas eve packages. This is a tradition I started when Jah was about 3 yrs old. I remember how long Christmas eve felt as a kid - it DRAGGED out and I was 'busting" to open presents. So I give a present, all 'get into bed' type things; usually a new pair of PJ's, a book and a teddy. Jah helps Leo write his letter to Santa, the carrots for the reindeer are put out on the deck, milk and cookies sit under the tree and then there is maybe a Christmas movie before bed. 

On Christmas morning just after the kids have opened their presents, I prepare this panettone pudding. I have found over the years of making this that the pudding is even tastier if made in advance, it gives the panettone a chance to absorb the custard and spices! I make this around 8 am and keep it in the fridge to bake at around 2 pm. If you don't have time to do it in advance, you can cook it right after making it. 

Panettone is a sweet almost cake-like bread, originally from Milan and has a light buttery flavour and is scented with citrus, spices, and fruit. Unless you made your own, is only available for Christmas time, and can easily be found at most good supermarkets. The pudding itself uses lots of eggs (thank goodness for my 12 chickens this time of year!) and also an array of dairy products. I've used my favourite from my friends at Lewis Road Creamery

Serves: 8 | Time: Being the in the morning and allow the pudding to sit in the fridge before baking | Preparation: 15 minutes | Cook time: 35 minutes 

For the panettone pudding
1 large (1000g) panettone loaf (I use the Antica Ricetta brand, the mini loaf is pictured above - large one has the same packaging) 
50g (1.7oz) Lewis Road Creamery unsalted butter, melted 
¼ cup fair trade sugar 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 cup Lewis Road Creamery single cream 
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or a vanilla pod split and scraped
½ cups fair trade sugar 
9 free-range eggs 

For the crème anglaise 
2 cups Lewis Road Creameryorganichomogenised or non-homogenised milk
4free range egg yolks
1/3 cup fair trade sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or a vanilla pod split and scraped

Extras to serve  
Lewis Road Creamery vanilla ice cream 
Runny or whipped cream 
Heat oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease an ovenproof dish with butter and set aside. You will also need to find a roasting dish that is big enough to fit the baking dish in as the pudding needs to cook in a bain-marie (water bath). 

Slice the brown top, sides, and bottom of the loaf not taking off too much of the inside. The reason I take these bits off is I feel they go too dark when baked. Cut the loaf into 2cm (1 inch) dices and put into a large bowl as you go. Toss the panettone with the melted butter, sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Put into the prepared dish and set aside while you make the custard filling.   
For the custard, warm the cream, vanilla, and sugar together in a medium-sized pot. You want to heat it to almost boiling, but don’t let it completely come to the boil or you will scald the cream. While that is coming up to heat, in a bowl whisk the eggs. Slowly pour the hot cream mixture a little at a time into the eggs, continually whisking so that it doesn’t cook and scramble the eggs. Pour over the prepared panettone. At this stage, you can cover it and pop it in the fridge until you are ready to bake, or you can cook it immediately. 
So that the pudding cooks evenly and gently, you need to cook it in a bain-marie (water bath). To do this place the pudding dish inside a larger roasting dish. Pour hot water around the pudding dish so it comes halfway up the outside, being careful not to get any water in the actual pudding. Bake for 30-35minutes or until the custard has set in the middle and it is golden and crunchy on top.  

While the pudding is cooking you can make the crème anglaise.  Heat the milk in a pot over a medium/high heat until hot but not boiling. While that is coming up to heat whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour, and vanilla in a bowl. Add a 1/3 of the milk to the yolk mixture, to begin with, whisking well, and then add the rest of the milk while continuously whisking. Pour the crème anglaise back into the pot that you warmed the milk in and cook over a medium heat stirring until it thickens. You want to remove it when it’s just thick enough, if you overcook it, it will curdle and go lumpy. It might seem like it needs longer to cook – but it will thicken more when it cools. To test if it’s ready, take a metal spoon and dip it into the crème anglaise. On the back of the spoon, run your finger through the middle to make a line - if it holds it's shape and the sides don’t run to the center, it’s ready. If you overcook it – it can curdle and have an ‘eggy’ flavor. Pour immediately into a jug so it stops cooking.
Serve hot the pudding hot with crème Anglaise, ice cream and extra cream on the side if you wish. 



These last two images were taken by Bonny Beattie when I served this pudding at my Christmas workshop

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