January 5, 2008

Panettone in zuppa inglese

In central Italy it's la Befana who gives gifts to kids for the holidays. According to legend the three wise men while traveling to Bethlehem asked a very very old woman which was the right way to get there. The poor lady was too busy taking care of her monotonous household chores so she didn't care about a newborn King. The wise men wisely tried to explain the importance of Its birth, but she didn't pay attention, because her floor wasn't clean enough yet. However, that evening she realized what was happening and she regretted her actions. So she took some cookies and pastries she had baked earlier, and left her house looking for the wise men in order to accompany them to visit baby Jesus. She tried very hard, but she couldn't reach them. In fact, she got lost. The poor lady began to visit each house seeking baby Jesus. If she found a home with good kids, she left cookies and some gifts. If the children were spoiled, she left coal. And she has been doing so ever since, every January 5th eve. So, you better watch out because la Befana is coming to town!

A good way to celebrate the Epiphany (January 6th) and another good way to use your panettone leftovers, is with my Panettone in zuppa inglese, which is the Italian version of the English trifle.

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

12 oz Panettone leftover (about half a medium size one)
4 cups milk
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
6 Tbsp corn starch
6 egg yolks
1 package frozen berries

Dice the panettone, defrost the berries and reserve. Mix the sugar, vanilla extract, egg yolks and corn starch until you get a homogeneus texture. Warm the milk until it begins to bubble slightly on the extremes of the pan. Take about 1/2 cup of the warm milk and slowly pour it in over the egg yolk mix. Then pour the custard in your pan, mixing it with the milk over medium low heat. Stir constantly until the corn starch cooks and you get a very thick texture. If it's not thick enough, you can add 1 additional Tbsp of corn starch. If it's too thick you can add a bit of heavy cream. When it has reached a creamy thick texture, turn the heat off and let it cool. If you have a trifle bowl, use it to assemble this luscious dessert. If you don't, just use 6 nice cups as I did. This zuppa inglese has the same idea of layering as the beloved tiramisù. Begin with the custard, some diced pieces of panettone, the berries (you can also use the juice), another layer of the custard and so on. You can give a kick by using a bit of rum to moisten your panettone cubes. Italialicious!
Posted by Daziano at 3:01 PM |  


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