Baked pear & lemon panettone pudding

by Lauraine Jacobs | Cuisine issue #122
Serves: 6-8This dessert can be prepared ahead and reheated, but baking it at the last moment will produce a lighter, puffier result.

It is rather like a bread and butter pudding, but very light with sliced panettone and slices of fresh Doyenne du Comice pears, and lemon rind and juice. After the entrée pour the vanilla-scented custard over the prepared panettone and bake while enjoying the main course. If you cannot get panettone (an aromatic Italian bread filled with dried fruit and candied peel), you could use slices of brioche or croissants.

1 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons sugar
300ml cream
250ml milk
1 small panettone (around 500g), sliced
3 ripe Doyenne du Comice pears, peeled, cored and sliced
juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
4 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the vanilla bean and sugar in the combined cream and milk. Bring to simmering point then turn off the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the sliced panettone in an ovenproof baking dish, overlapping the slices. Add the pear slices, spreading them through the bread, and sprinkle with the lemon juice and zest.

Add the strained, infused milk and cream to the eggs. Beat well then pour over the panettone and pears.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until set and puffy and golden.

Serve immediately with yoghurt or whipped cream.

Wine - Chilled late-harvest Riesling.

Serve with the following to create an elegant dinner which complements deliciously scented aromatic wines
Appetiser - Rocket, Fennel, Apple & Mint Salad
Entree - Prawns with Basil in Saffron Tomato Soup
Main - Chicken Casserole with Gewurztraminer & Ginger with Carrots & Snow Peas in a Cumin Glaze
Dessert - Baked Pear & Lemon Panettone Pudding

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