Panettone Pudding – Making the Most of a Christmas Leftover



So, yes … Nadia, my sister-in-law, came to the rescue as regards the dessert for our dinner (see previous post).  Not only is the recipe pretty fool-proof, even by my own dessert-making-101 standards, but the final outcome was heralded and enjoyed with much flattering appreciation for its maker.  It was sweet without  being uber-sweet, if you know what I mean?  Talk about loving the leftovers ! That said, I would like to add that … it is important for the panettone in question be a good-quality one.  Ours was a first-time for me, produced by Attilio Servi in Pomezia, Lazio, and not very far from us, and jolly good it was too – so I don’t mind publicising it:

Right – now on with the ingredients.

Lots of eggs are required, be warned, all 12 of them ! A tiny amount of butter, 1 liter of milk, 1 vanilla pod or, alternatively, good quality vanilla essence, 450 g sugar in total, 200g mascarpone, 400g cream, a shot of rum or cognac, powdered cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and 1 star anise (which I didn’t have so could not include).

Part 1 requires: 1 panettone, 8 eggs, 300g sugar, 1 liter milk, 1 vanilla pod

Part 2 requires: 200g mascarpone, 400g whipping cream, 4 egg yolks, 150g sugar, the rum and spices

The oven needs to be preheated at 180°C and you will also need a 28-cm springform cake pan that has to be buttered.

Ready? Let’s go!


Pour the milk into a pan, add the vanilla pod, and bring to the boil over a low heat. Then, remove the vanilla pod, and remove the pan from the heat too (although the milk should not get cold, bear that in  mind, it was to be hot when put to use later).

2Butter the cake pan.

3Slice the panettone and place it inside the cake pan in layers.


Stop when you reach the rim of the cake pan.

Beat the eggs with the sugar with an electric whisk.

5Then pour the milk into the beaten egg and sugar and combine.

Now …


9Now pour this mixture over the sliced panettone.  It may seem like an awful lot of liquid misture at first, but the panettone will gradually absorb it.  Take your time.7Once the panettone slices have been properly sodden, pop the cake pan into the oven for 30 minutes sitting on a baking tray (this is because some of the liquid mixture wanted to ooze out of the springform pan).  Remove the cake from oven and allow it to cool.  You can go and eat your dinner while it is cooling.


End of Part One

10Beat the egg yolks with the sugar (freeze the egg whites for another day).

11Add half the mascarpone and beat some more …

1213Get your spices ready.

14Add a few pinches of the spices to the egg mixture.  Taste – don’t overdo it!

15Make it more robust and grown-up with the addition of a liqueur you fancy: we chose rum. Then and add the rest of the mascarpone and mix well.

16Beat the whipping cream until it is nice and thick.

1718Blend the two and … Bob’s your uncle ! Job Done!  (The other cake you see in the photo was made by my friend Michelle … a delicious lemoncake, most of which,  I  know, got wolfed down by a crowd of younger people the next day!).

20The panettone has cooked and cooled down.

21Add the spiced cream and serve.

22You can even add more spices if you like!

It was a great evening! Thanks Nadia for this fab dessert !





Singing for My Supper – The Chores and Pleasures of a Nice Dinner Party

We had some friends over for supper last week and I thought I would do the clever thing without cutting corners, and that is to go for slow-cooked dishes that wouldn’t require me to hover and fuss over them too much, especially not once the guests arrived. So I opted for a menu to include tried-and-tested, crowd-pleasing dishes: egg noodles with duck sauce , followed by a Peposo,  an ancient recipe from Impruneta in Tuscany that is the most minimalist recipe ever for beef stewed in wine, and, as a vegetable side dish (‘contorno’), artichokes braised the Roman way, carciofi alla romana.

Friends coming over to dinner brought loaves of heady-frangranced home made bread, pumpkin and orange soup and potato dauphinois.  Another brought a ricotta cake and my sister-in-law Nadia made the pudding: panettone pudding with a spiced cream redolent of mulled wine.

I smile as I look at the photos I took in anticipation …

1Here is the duck sauce cooking away.  I added a tablespoon of cocoa powder this time, aha!, to give it more depth.  I don’t think anyone noticed but I like to experiment. (  2

Here is the beef, drowned in red wine, about to be cooked nestling inside an earthenware saucepan . (  These cooking vessels are brilliant for slow cooked dishes requiring a low heat.3Here is the red wine I used – a very nice selection from Lazio’s Cesanese varietals.4And here are the artichokes I braised : all twelve of them!  I very wisely started cooking them last so that the prepping would coincide with an encouraging glass of fermented grape juice around wine o’clock (do admit, 12 artichokes are a LOT of artichokes to deal with).  (

And the dinner went very well, I am glad to say.  We all enjoyed ourselves, it was a lot of fun.

As for the nex morning, however, what do we get? Lots of washing up to do! That’s what.

8That is the bottom of the pan in which the duck ragu cooked.  Ouff.  Had to leave some water and salt soaking in it for half a day before I was ready to scrub that off.

7Here is the terracotta saucepan in which the peposo cooked.  This is every so easy to wash but one does have to careful because a careless slip of the hand and … crash … no more saucepan.  Plus, it really is very large and quite difficult to handle.9

And this was the big huge pan for the artichokes.  None of these pans, it goes without saying, fit into a dish washer.  So yes … a bit of a pallaver, all told.


Not to mention the wine glasses.


And last but not least, the tablecloth needs to be washed and ironed.

For all that I am a sane person and much happier cooking than cleaning and washing up, I have to say I rarely mind the ‘day after’.  I do what has to be done in batches, if I can, and I go over all the nice elements of the night before, reliving the most relishable moments.

img_2254The lovely home made bread.

img_2256Lovely home made butter too!

img_2258And friends and family tucking into the meal.  Conversation.   Laughter.  Teasing.  Glasses clinking. Head nodding of approval.  Head shaking when in disagreement but nobody cares anyway. Pouring of wine (and water too … ).  It’s all about being together. There were ten of us.

img_2266And then it’s time for pudding …. dessert.  Nadia to the rescue.  But we have to clear the table first.

Let me tell you all about that in the next post.


Luscious Leftover: Trinoro Le Cupole for Sausages and for Cauliflower

When an old friend announced that she and her husband and a couple of their friends were going to be spending a few days in Rome over the New Year, an impromptu decision made at the last minute, I of course revelled at the prospect.  We met, rather bleary eyed and worse for festivity wear, on the evening of January first for an aperitivo at Rosati’s in Piazza del Popolo.  As we sipped our respective cocktail favourites (prosecco, Negroni and Spritz) we exchanged stories of the night before and the fun and bopping and fireworks that we had appreciated.  The place they had chosen was in the heart of Rome’s “centro storico” had provided much appreciable people-watching and an allegro atmosphere but the food, unfortunately, was nothing to speak of.  “All the courses were the same colour is about all I can say!” was her description of its gastronomic underwhelm.  That got me thinking.  There is an Italian expression that says “anche l’occhio vuole la sua parte”, meaning “the eye too wants it share”, i.e. that appearances definitely matter.  And we do indeed usually equate a platter’s bright and contrasting colours with freshness and come-hither appetitsing value.  Conversely, a neutral beige or greige colour can only mutter lack of oomph when it comes to food.  And yet, what is one to make of porridge? If you like porridge, you don’t complain about its colour now, do you?  And what of dark browns?

And what of a single ingredient, a ‘leftover’ if you will,that makes a dish taste super duper even though its colour is not particularly attractive?  Here is the story:

When a good friend treats you to some very snappy red wine by way of a huge bottle of Trinoro ‘Le Cupole’, in the course of an end-year potluck party, you have good cause for celebration; when said friend insists you take home the bottle with one third of the wine left in … well then, its boozy bonanza I’d say.


I had some left-over stewed artichokes and three sausages. Trinoro to the rescue!  I cooked the sausages with some of this red nectar and then added them to the artichokes.

45I think those green stringy ‘bits’ are parsely stems.

6And here on the plate is the regal sausage with artichokes and a spoon of horseradish for an extra bit of vim.  What could be better than sausages cooked in red wine served with Le Cupole? The wine tasted lovely even 48 hours later,by the way.

All that remained the following day was one measely martini-glass amount of the wine.

4I had read about a recipe cooking cauliflower with olive oil, red wine, onion, black olives, anchovies, and pecorino romano cheese.  I thought I’d give it a try.

1Here are the ingredients, all of them except for the pecorino romano.

3Start chopping up the onion and laying it as one single layer in the saucepan; then cut up the cauliflower into  florets; douse with plenty of olive oil.

3aAdd the fillets of anchovy, the black olives and a shower of freshly grated pecorino cheese.

2Take one last tiny sip of the red wine … and make a love filled libation to the person you fancy the most or in gratitude to your destiny.

5Spread out the cauliflower florets so as to make a hole in the middle of the pan and pour the red wine right in.  Sprinkle a little bit of salt and white pepper.  Cover with a lid and cook over a modest heat for about 20-30 minutes.

6And here it is served on a nice platter.  The platter is very lovely indeed, the creation of a friend of mine, artist Cassandra Wainhouse who had made San Gimignano her home for many years.

7And here is  a close up.

Now … I ask you.  Does this dish look tempting?  Does it make you think, Golly I can’t wait to try it!  No.  And that’s because the red wine has turned the white of the cauliflower into a slush colour.

5Again, do these sausages and the artichokes look particularly enticing?  Let’s face it they don’t.

All this to say that colour, i.e. the colour of the foods we are about to eat, is not always the best indication of how tasty or appealing a dish is going to be.  Those sausages were fab and the cauliflower was very interesting and I am going to make it again this way (perhaps not cook it quite as much).

May this new year be colourful in the best of ways for us all! Happy New Year everyone.