HoHoHo! Santa comes bringing panettone galore. If you don’t get around to using it over the festive break, make it into a decadent pudding.
1 cup dried apricots (choose tangy apricots, not insipid ones) 400g (about 14 oz) panettone 4 medium (size 6) free-range egg yolks 75g (about 2½ oz) caster (superfine granulated) sugar Small piece vanilla pod (or ¼ tsp vanilla extract) 150ml (about 5 fl oz) whole milk 150ml (about 5 fl oz) cream Icing (confectioner’s) sugar for dusting Extra cream, custard or vanilla ice cream for serving
1 Put apricots in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook gently for about 12 minutes, until they can be squashed easily with a fork; if you run out of water, add more. Drain. Alternatively, put apricots in a bowl, pour over boiling water to cover, cover bowl with a plate or similar, and leave overnight to plump. Squash apricots to a purée with a fork.
2 Slice panettone thickly and spread with puréed apricots. Arrange in a shallow ovenproof dish. Whisk egg yolks and caster sugar together in a bowl. Put milk and cream in a small pan, split vanilla pod, if using, and flick seeds into milk and cream. Add the pod. Bring just to a simmer, then pour onto the egg yolks and sugar a third at a time, stirring. Discard vanilla pod, or if using vanilla extract, add it now. Pour the egg and cream mixture over the panettone. Leave it to soak for 20 minutes.
3 Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Put a roasting tin in the oven and fill with 2-3 cups hot water. Set pudding in the tin – the water should come about half way up the pudding dish. Bake pudding for about 20 minutes, until custard has thickened and pudding has browned on top. Serve hot with cream, custard or ice cream.
Store egg whites in a grease-free container in the fridge for up to 6 weeks or freeze them. Use in meringues or pavlova.If you receive a gorgeous panettone it would be a crime to turn it into a pudding! Enjoy Christmas morning with bubbles, or save it for special morning teas!