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Turn Sad, Stale Panettone Into Awesome Ice Cream

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[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Every year around this time, no matter how hard I try to avoid it, I wind up the owner of a panettone. And every year the massive two-pound thing just sits and gets stale as I take bits and pieces over the course of a week or two, then chuck it once some cookies arrive.

Most well-meaning souls buy me the sad, boxed, dry-while-still-fresh versions you find all over grocery stores this time of year, and no matter how much I toast and butter them, they just never amount to much. Even good panettone, like this swanky model from Sullivan Street Bakery, are too damn big to finish off without help. Quality panettone or not, the result is the same: sad, stale bread-cake you toss into the trash. And you can only make so much bread pudding or French toast.

But now I have a solution, one that uses up panettone leftovers and makes something genuinely delicious—so good, in fact, that it's won over the hearts and minds of several panettone-haters at SE HQ. "I want more of the salty egg bread egg ice cream," Jamie meekly murmured the other day. Panettone ice cream: how to win friends and influence people.

There's a few things you should know about this recipe. First, it has a low yield. Soaking toasted bread in hot cream and milk soaks up a good volume of liquid, so if you start with a quart of dairy, you'll wind up with just a pint of ice cream.

Second, this stuff is rich—really rich—which is to be expected, as it's little more than eggy ice cream flavored with sweet bread, more eggs, and plenty of butter. Serve it in small scoops with something tart for balance. (Or top it with maple syrup for frozen French toast.)

Otherwise it's straightforward stuff. Treat this recipe as a base to which you can add toasted nuts (almonds, pistachios), rum-reconstituted dried fruit (raisins, apricots, ginger), or candied citrus peel for something that screams holiday. Or take it simple, smooth, and creamy. Either way, it's better than the panettone you started with.

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the New York editor and ice cream maker in residence at Serious Eats. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

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