I like to serve the pudding on the day it is made, though it is still great the day after.

Ingredients

Serves: 6-8

  • 350 – 400g panettone
  • Custard 
  • 400ml milk
  • 1/3 of a vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 35g caster sugar
  • 80g chocolate 62% cocoa solids

Method

  1. Bring the milk almost to the boil with the vanilla pod. Remove from the heat allowing the vanilla pod to infuse the milk. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and light. If you are adding vanilla extract, add it in now. Pour in the hot milk gradually, whisking all of the time.
  2. Replace in a clean saucepan with the vanilla pod and cook on a low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring constantly with a flat bottomed wooden spoon.
  3. The custard must not boil, so keep a close eye on what is happening in the saucepan and the heat under it as well. Be patient and eventually the custard will thicken slightly, not dramatically though, and just enough to leave a light trail along the back of the wooden spoon when a finger is drawn through it.
  4. Remember this sauce is served with a thin consistency and also remember that it thickens a little as it cools, though here we are using it while still hot. Immediately remove from the heat. 
  5. To maximize the flavour and appearance of the vanilla in the sauce, cut the vanilla pod in half and squeeze the oily looking seeds into the sauce. When whisked this thick black liquid disperses into thousands of tiny little flecks of vanilla.
  6. Chop the chocolate into coarse grit sized pieces.
  7. Heat a heavy cast-iron grill pan or sauté pan and slice the panetonne into 1 ½ cm thick slices. Grill the panatonne on the dry pan until well coloured and turn and repeat with the other sides. I like some of the panatonne to become richly coloured and this greatly enhances the flavour of the finished dish.
  8. Drizzle a little of the custard on the bottom of the dish. Cover with enough of the hot panatonne to hide the custard and sprinkle on half of the chocolate. Spoon over about half of the remaining custard and repeat the process again with the rest of the panatonne and chocolate finishing with the remaining custard being careful that there are no bits of dry panatonne visible.
  9. Allow the pudding to sit at room temperature for an hour before serving. Serve with softly whipped cream

Rory's note:
Panetonne is a wonderful rich Italian sweet bread believed to have originated in Milan but now available all over Italy and indeed further afield.

The quality of the bread varies enormously so it pays to do some research and find ones made in the traditional way with sourdough and flecked with the very best quality dried and candied fruits. Once you have secured the bread, the rest is relatively easy. The combination with chocolate is not a new one, but the result here is so delicious and comforting that it definitely deserves inclusion.

This pudding needs to be assembled while the grilled bread is still hot and the custard warm. This way the chocolate melts into a lovely sauce type consistency and blends gently with the custard.

I like to serve the pudding on the day it is made, though it is still great the day after. I prefer not to refrigerate the pudding if I am serving it on the same day, but if you are keeping it overnight, it is probably best to pop it in the fridge. In that case, remove it from the fridge two hours before serving to allow the wonderful textures to loosen up and become unctuous before eating. I serve it with softly whipped cream.