Baked Panettone French Toast with Orange Maple Butter
Baked Panettone French Toast is an easy and delicious breakfast to celebrate the holiday season. Prep the night before and bake on Christmas morning!French Toast base adapted from "Baked French Toast," Joy of Cooking
2poundpanettone, quartered and cut into 10, 1-inch slices, dark crusts removed (you might not use the entire loaf)
Orange Maple Butter
1/2cuppure maple syrup
1/2cupunsalted butter, cut into pieces
Prepare the French Toast
Butter a 13x9x2 baking dish (don't be shy, you don't want the French toast to stick). Arrange panettone slices in the dish, overlapping as needed to fit. In a large bowl, whisk together half and half, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and cinnamon. Pour egg mixture over the panettone slices, gently pressing to absorb. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours, or up to overnight (8 hours).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in middle position. Sprinkle casserole with almond slices, if using. Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and cover the baking dish. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover baking dish and continue baking 15-20 minutes, until center is hot and French toast is puffed. Let stand 5 minutes before sprinkling with powdered sugar and serving with a drizzle of Orange Maple Butter.
Make the Orange Maple Butter
Warm maple syrup in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in orange zest and butter.** Keep warm until ready to serve.
*The panettone I use is very sweet, so I only use 2 tablespoons of brown sugar in the custard. If you're using a panettone that isn't quite as sweet, or prefer a very sweet French toast, increase brown sugar to 1/4 cup (keeping in mind that the maple butter will add additional sweetness to the dish upon serving).**For an optional twist for the adults, stir 1-2 teaspoons Grand Marnier into the warm Orange Maple Butter.