Seeing as I was in a chocolate kind of mood last night, I decided to try that one first. When I opened it up and cut into it, I quickly learned this "cake" is much more bread-like, as you can see:
While it is moist, it's not quite as moist as cake - and it has a larger crumb. As I took a bite, a surprising orange flavor came through. Looking closer, I could see little bits of dried fruit in the cake, along with those delicious chocolate morsels. It really is a very unique flavor - a little bit along the lines of a friendship bread, but more refined. On its own, it would be a great snack along with a cup of coffee or tea.
But I wasn't looking for an accompaniment to coffee or tea. No, I wanted some straight up delicious dessert. So, I decided to use the cake for a bread pudding. When I make bread pudding, I often use leftover hamburger or hot dog rolls that are taking up space in the freezer. Their soft texture is perfect for bread pudding - and this panetonne is very similar, so I thought it would work well.
To go along with the chocolate and orange flavors already in the cake, I added some cherries and a touch of rum. Topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, the results were delicious, in my opinion.
Mr. ValleyWriter says he thinks the raisin panetonne would make a more "traditional" bread pudding (which he prefers) so we may have to give that a try next. But for me, chocolate takes bread pudding to the next level - a definite must try!
Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding
1/3 c. fresh cherries, chopped
2 Tbsp. rum
1 1/3 c. milk
1/4 c. sugar
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 c. cubed chocolate chip panetonne
2 Tbsp. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 4 custard cups and place in a larger casserole dish.
Combine cherries and rum in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine milk and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
In a separate bowl, whisk egg and egg yolk. Slowly whisk in hot milk/sugar mixture. Add the cubed panettone to the liquid and let sit 10 minutes.
Stir in rum-soaked cherries and pour evenly into prepared custard cups. Sprinkle 1/4 of the chocolate chips evenly over the top of each one.
Place casserole dish containing custard cups in the preheated oven. Create a water bath by carefully adding warm water to the bottom of the casserole dish until it comes about 1/2 way up the sides of the custard cups.
Bake pudding at 350°F for 35 minutes or until set in the center. Remove from water bath and let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.
Disclosure: I received the Bauducco panettone free as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, but the opinions expressed above are my own.