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Panettone, the Italian cake with candied fruits, is only available at Christmastime in Italian food marts and high-end grocery stores. This bread pudding is definitely the best version I have made over the years. Serve with softly whipped cream and marinated fruit salad (see recipe below).

I also accompany it with a not-very-classic charcuterie plate - prosciutto, salami, crisp fried pancetta and an assortment of cheeses (Quebec blue, Ontario goat cheese, and a hunk of Parmesan with truffle honey on the side) - for a hearty Christmas brunch.

Servings: Serves 6 with leftovers.

Ingredients

1 panettone

6 eggs

1 cup whipping cream

2 cups milk

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Method

Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Cut panettone into 2-inch cubes and remove dark brown crusts. You will need about 10 cups. Place in a large bowl.

Whisk together eggs, whipping cream, milk, sugar and vanilla.

Pour over panettone and toss to coat. Transfer panettone and custard to prepared baking dish, squishing the pieces around to absorb custard and to fill pan in an even layer.

Set aside for at least 45 minutes or wrap well and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Bake bread pudding for 35 to 40 minutes or until deep golden brown and puffed.

Cut into pieces and serve warm or at room temperature.

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