If your workplace is anything like Brooks Brothers, there are a multitude of baked treats lying about during the holidays. Cookies, brownies, cakes—the list goes on. And, as is the case with all things delicious, there is an Italian sensibility to our seasonal tastings. Our traditional panettone is a yuletide favorite of the Brooks set, so when the discussion turned to how great it would taste as bread pudding, we knew just who to trust.
The pastry team at Thomas Keller’s world-famous Bouchon Bakery have created the following recipe for Brooks Brothers. After the success of their insanely good pumpkin pie recipe a few years ago, it was only natural we enlisted their services once again. Christmas Eve or New Year’s Day—the recipe is a surefire delight to you and yours.
Panettone Bread Pudding
(Makes one 9″ x 13″ pan)
1 ¼ cups milk
1 ¼ cups cream
¾ cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 fresh vanilla bean or 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
16 ounces panettone, cut into 1-inch cubes
Whipped cream or ice cream
Place milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large pot over medium-high heat.
Whisk together eggs and yolks in a large bowl. Set aside.
Bring the milk mixture to a full boil. Remove the pot from the heat and pour about a quarter of it into the eggs; whisk together well. Once incorporated, whisk another quarter of the hot milk into the eggs. Pour the remaining milk into the egg mixture and whisk until completely combined.
Strain the mixture into a clean bowl. Place custard bowl over another bowl of ice, stirring occasionally to help speed the cooling process. Once cool, custard can be stored for up to three days in an airtight container in the refrigerator if not used immediately.
When you are ready to complete the pudding, cover the sides and bottom of a 9” x 13” baking dish with soft butter. Fill with panettone cubes*. Pour cooled custard over the bread until it fills the dish. Allow the bread to soak up most of the custard before adding enough additional custard to reach the top of the bread. Allow the pudding to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or up to 24 hours.
To bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle the top of the bread pudding with sugar and bake for 45 minutes, or until the center springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes before dusting with powdered sugar and serving with whipped cream or ice cream.
* Helpful hint
You likely don’t need to use the entire panettone for this step. We recommend using all but a handful of chopped panettone. (Keep that for nibbles.)