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Italian

Breakfast

Panettone French Toast

December 11, 2014

Each year growing up I looked forward to my favourite Italian Christmas treat – Panettone. A festive Italian sweet bread / cake studded with dried fruit and a hint of citrus. It’s one of my favourite memories of Christmas with my dads family. It signified the beginning of the holidays. We would only get to taste the sweet fluffy bread during the holidays – which meant that when I could get my hands on it I would easily devour 4 or 5 pieces. Unlike traditional Christmas fruit cakes, panettone is light and fluffy, with a hint of citrus and a sweet taste much like brioche. I’m not fond of fruitcake, unless it’s panettone.

As soon as I see the beautiful imported boxes of Panettone I get way too excited. I’ve even brought a panettone on an airplane to gift to someone  – yeah, I’m that person who brings a cake on a plane. 

We always did the big Italian Christmas Eve at my Nonnas – and you would always see the famous boxed panettone sitting on the counter waiting to be sliced for dessert. If we were lucky we might get some before dinner – but you wouldn’t want to spoil your appetite before the feast of seven fishes.

As a special treat we would add the faintest dust of icing sugar on top (though you really don’t need it). On Christmas morning my dad would slice the panettone at our house, and present it in star cut slices.

Now, as an adult I buy myself at least two panettone’ during the holidays. I may even buy another one to freeze for the future. While I love panettone on it’s own, I’ve also grown to love it as French toast for breakfast. It’s simply delicious – and easy to prep. I find it’s better than brioche because the bread is so airy light that the pieces of French toast are fluffy like a cloud even when cooked. It’s definitely a Christmas treat and would be an absolute favourite Christmas morning breakfast. Serve with a mimosa, maple syrup and fresh fruit.

T’is the season – so go ahead, eat panettone for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert!

Panettone French Toast
A christmas twist on the traditional favourite - thick slices of sweet panettone dunked in a vanilla-egg mixture and cooked until crisp.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 thick slices Panettone per person
  2. 2 eggs per slice (4 eggs for two people)
  3. dash of vanilla
  4. dash of cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Heat pan on medium heat with cooking spray/coconut oil/butter.
  2. In shallow baking dish whisk together eggs, vanilla and cinnamon.
  3. Add thick slices of panettone, allowing it to soak on each side for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Carefully lift slices out of baking dish and into pre-heated pan. The panettone can be quite 'mushy' at this stage, so I suggest lifting it with a spatula/egg flipper.
  5. Cook each side of the panettone for 3-4 minutes on medium-low. You want the outside to be crisp, and the inside to be cooked but not soggy.
  6. Serve with real maple syrup and fresh fruit.
Notes
  1. Best if eaten the same day.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/
Christmas, Cookies, Italian

An Italian Favourite: Pizzelle

December 17, 2013

Pizzelle // Bakeaholic.ca

Pizzelle // Bakeaholic.ca

I’ve mentioned before that Christmas Eve is a big tradition for Italians. In many ways Christmas Eve was more important that Christmas growing up. 

For one thing, we opened up all of our gifts on Christmas eve. My brother and I were the first grandchildren on my Father’s side of the family – and we were for a few years until our other cousins came along. So on Christmas Eve Nick and I would have to stay up until midnight before we could open our presents i.e. we would be falling asleep on our Nonna’s couch. ‘Santa’ a.k.a my Nonno or Zio would dress up as Santa and come to my Nonna’s house at midnight to deliver presents.

Earlier in the evening we would eat our Feast of Seven Fishes dinner – Italians do not eat meat on Christmas Eve, only seafood. My brother and I were incredibly lucky to grow up with such amazing food and traditions. It was truly a feast to remember. We would begin with a seafood pasta course (usually tuna sauce my dad or nonna would make), followed by fish, prawns, mussels, clams, baccalà (salted cod), homemade calamari and other amazing dishes. It has always been my favourite memory of Christmas with my dads family.

As a child I remember stealing Pizzelles from the counter before dinner, when Nonna or Nonno weren’t looking. Pizzelles are incredibly thin, delicate waffle like cookies that are crisp and slightly sweet. You can eat about 6 in a minute flat. They were always the elusive holiday cookie that you would only get at Christmas or maybe Easter. Pizzelle makers were not popular so only my Nonna would have one therefore making it an even more treasured dessert that I looked forward to.

pizellea

Now, I have my very own Pizzelle maker by a complete mishap that happened this summer. Long story short, the company Chef’s Choice sent me an e-mail on a completely different subject that lead me to respond and receive a response from a woman in their marketing department. After a few back and forth conversations about her daughter, myself and my family she offered to send me one of their products to make up for the mishap. Of course I chose the Pizzelle maker, as it meant I would not longer have to borrow my Nonnas. Also – that I could now make Pizzelle’s whenever I wanted. 

Pizzelle // Bakeaholic.ca

I am also excited to be hosting my very first Christmas Eve dinner at our house this year. In honour of my Dad I hope everything turns out – though Christmas Eve has never quite been the same since he passed. Christmas makes me feel incredibly nostalgic. Nevertheless I am looking forward to having all of my family over to share a delicious seafood meal together – and Pizzelle’s will definitely be on the dessert counter. This time, I won’t have to sneak them.

Pizzelle // Bakeaholic.ca

Italian Pizzelles
Yields 36
Thin crisp waffle cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 3 Eggs
  2. 1 3/4 cups Flour
  3. 1/2 tsp. Anise seeds (optional)
  4. 1/2 cup Butter or oil, melted
  5. 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  6. 3/4 cup Sugar
  7. 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. 1. Turn on Pizzelle Maker. In a medium sized bowl beat together the eggs and sugar until frothy.
  2. 2. Add the cooled melted butter or oil, vanilla and anise seeds (optional) and beat again.
  3. 3. In small bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add to the egg mixture stirring with wooden spoon.
  4. 4. Stir batter until well combined, it will be slightly stiff and dough-like. The dough should be stiff enough to drop by rounded spoonfuls.
  5. 5. Drop by spoonfuls in the centre of the Pizzelle maker. Be careful not to place too much dough, otherwise it will spill out over the sides. You want them to have delicate 'fingers' like lace.
  6. 6. Bake according to your Pizzelle Maker's instructions, usually only 20-30 seconds per batch. Carefully lift off using a fork. Place on cooling rack to crisp.
Notes
  1. Special Equipment Needed: Pizzelle Maker
  2. Pizzelle cookies last quite well. Place in airtight container (my nonna would always place paper towel over them) and store on counter for up to 2 weeks. You can also easily freeze them for ice cream sundaes, or ice cream sandwiches.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/

 

 

WIAW

WIAW: Week 2, Italian style

March 14, 2012

Late post today! But here is my second week of WIAW. This time, the Italian edition.

For the past year I have been volunteering each week at an Elementary school in preparation for my application to the Teaching Program. I hope to start it in September. It has been a great experience working in the classroom and getting to know all of the students. I was in a grade three classroom for the end of last year and since September of the beginning of this school year. It was fun to help them with their work, marking assignments and corrections, teaching them cursive and new math skills. The kids were all very sweet and it was sad to say goodbye yesterday, my last day, as it was the last Tuesday before their Spring Break, and when they return I will begin my final exams and projects. I would defininitely vist them again, as Adam’s cousin is also a teacher at the school! Bonus. I would love to get a teaching job in the same district.

The children surprised me with a giant thank you card. It was so sweet! I will definitely miss them too.

I did not spell check these haha- and apparently they still need a little help with their spelling ;)

And apparently I am also married according to some of them ;)

From Peas and Crayons!

Breakfast was early Tuesday. Thanks to Daylight Savings time. My 7 am wake up, was more like a 6 am wake up. Not cool. The usual, Rice Krispies with Almond milk – as per my allergy diet.

The school is in my hometown, where I lived before I moved in with Adam, and where my brother and Nonna still live. So, every Tuesday I see my Nonna for a visit or lunch, or dinner. Depending on when I make it to her house, and my schedule in the classrooms. Yesterday was lunch.

When I’m at Nonna’s, I tend to throw the allergy-diet out the window. I just can’t say no.

First course, Pasta. My Nonna said she sauteed peas in oil, with artichokes and garlic, and then poured it over the pasta. It was so light and delicious. I love oil, all kinds, and this was simply delicious.

Second course was Salad, a simple oil and homemade red wine vinegar. Note the homemade white wine also. It was noon. Nonna likes a little vino with lunch.

There was also tomato, I can assume only freshly picked from Joe’s extensive vegetable garden (her live in boyfriend/companion since my Nonno is no longer with us) Joe also makes the red wine vinegar and wine. Topped with fresh mozzarella, bocconcini with basil and more delicious oil.

I ate these by themselves and atop some crackers. I probably ate about three, before being told to “eat more!” and to “finish, finish.” Thus, I ended up eating about half of the plate of cheese and tomatoes. I was fine with that.

Dinner was the usual right now, yam/sweet potato topped with black beans, goat cheese and cranberry sauce with lettuce drizzled with oilve oil, and a non-appealing looking piece of chicken breast. The yam was the best part.

Do you participate in WIAW? 

Did you eat anything delicious yesterday??