toast of christmas past.

panettone french toast

someone gave me one of those electric sandwich makers as a gift--not a panini grill but one of those dorm room appliances that is subject to a pretty awesome informercial or two (albeit this one is from a relatively respected company). i could've returned it at the shops for something more useful but it's shiny, and i started thinking of all the inappropriate things i could shove in between two slices of bread then call it a "meal"--condiments? a whole frozen dinner? a can of soup? o, the non-possibilities.

my folks get a lot of food gifts. i generally do not. don't ask me why, you'd think people would know i would appreciate them. although, admittedly, i get a lot of cash. people know i REALLY appreciate cash. however, my parents get pretty nice coffee, chocolates, fruit baskets and even a ham or two. and panettone, an italian sweet bread, rich with eggs and butter, and usually flavoured with orange and dried fruit. they get lots of panettone. one of the family faves is one from williams-sonoma, which is studded throughout with whole glazed chestnuts.

xmas panettone

so, i've been playin' around with the bread and the machine, making some fabulous if stupefyingly rich sandwiches of thin slices of panettone with a schmear of mascarpone cheese and a little orange marmalade, or sometimes chestnut cream. or try a thin bar of dark chocolate pressed in there. i have yet to try something more savoury, although i imagine a little parma or prosciutto and a good cheese would produce some mighty tasty results.

the only other thing has been french toast. which you know how to make, but you guys, here's something different!

fiori di sicilia

fiori di sicilia, a baking flavouring that tastes a little orange blossom-y, with orange oil and vanilla essence. a couple drops of this and it enhances the existing citrus notes in the bread, and the very light vanilla touch complements the buttery sweetness. just don't overdo it or you'll have something like a cleaning product.

panettone french toast

2 thick slices of panettone
1 egg
1/2 c milk (scant cup)
pinch of salt
a couple drops of fiori di sicilia (this is optional, or you can use a drop of vanilla extract and/or a drop of orange extract) or a 1/2 tsp of orange zest

beat egg, combine well with milk, add salt and extracts. soak panettone slices in egg mixture. fry in pan or use cheap christmas present sandwich maker thing, in a tablespoon or so of melted butter, until golden.


Oh.My.God I love panettone, I could bath in its vanilla perfume and now you add some other citrusy vanilla-y trickery? Must track this down on internet immediately. And wow, your panettone comes in a beautiful tin as well (I've only seen them in cardboard packaging here). I am smitten.

hi amanda, yes, panettone, almost always awesome. i lurve the tin of the williams-sonoma one. it has changed throughout the years but i really like the current version. probably explains why this one is so ex.pens.ive....

did you get a toastie maker?!? i survived uni with one of those (and a 3-cup rice cooker).

some of my favourite fillings:
1. cheese and pickles (Branston for the perfect nasty chemical tang),
2. banana and nutella,
3. brie and cranberry sauce/jelly.
the list goes on with various combos of cheese and something.

ah... i miss my toastie maker. i don't quite miss cleaning it out though. that was a right bugger if the cheese escaped (and it always did).

yes! this one seems easy to clean (cusinart), even the littls coily thing in the back and the ledges. but give me time, i shall find a way to muck it up.

what exactly is branston pickle and have you tried eating pickled walnuts? how do you eat them?

Branston pickles are... brown pickles? Random/mixed veg in... brown vinegary sauce. You either love it or hate it. (it even has its own wiki page)

As for pickled walnuts: nope. I'd guess that they get served (sliced/whole) with hard sharp cheeses. Anyway, why pickle walnuts when they taste so good fresh?