Perhaps, like me and every other child from an Italian family, you went home for a weekend in late November or early December to find that your mother was gifted about 12 loaves of panettone bread. She knows that those sweet, dried fruit-studded, slightly pyramid-shaped breads will sit on her dining room table for the whole month and she won’t eat them. She then pawned off two of the panettones onto you. Invite your friends over and feed it to them! Your mom probably said. But Mo-ommm!, you whined. My friends won’t want this! (Really, you just didn’t want to carry cumbersome bread on the bus). You take the bread anyway. You arrive in the kitchen. Now what? You make panettone French toast, that’s what.
Here we go. Turn that loaf of panettone on its side, and use a large serrated knife to cut the bread into large circles—or, if the bread was more of a pyramid, gradually larger and smaller squares.
Crack 8 eggs into a baking dish large enough to fit your bread circles or squares. Whisk the eggs along with 3/4 cup of milk, ½ cup half and half or cream, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon maple syrup.
Heat a large nonstick pan (or better yet, a pancake griddle) over medium high heat, and spritz it with some cooking spray. Dunk a slice of panettone into the egg mixture. Carefully lift up the slice and let some of the excess egg mixture drip off.
Drop the slice of bread onto the hot pan and cook until the underside is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the bread and cook the other side for another 2 minutes or so.
Stash cooked slices of French toast in a 200ºF oven, flipping them every now and then, while you cook the rest of the bread.
Serve panettone French toast with a dusting of powdered sugar and maple syrup if you’re classic, a squirt of spicy honey if you’re feeling funky, or with fruit if you think you need some vitamins this morning. Whipped cream or yogurt are also acceptable toppings. The choice is yours.