A New Twist on a Sweet Breakfast Staple

Rick Tramonto's Panettone French Toast

rick tramonto's panettone french toast!

When a loaf of bread goes stale in our house, we consider making bread crumbs (for about two seconds) and then toss it in the trash. When the same thing happens to chef Rick Tramonto, author of Scars of a Chef and former executive chef/partner at Tru in Chicago, he transforms it into a decadent holiday breakfast.

Lesson learned, Top Chef master. Lesson learned.

I got a few loaves of Panettone for Christmas one year, and when one turned mildly stale, I cooked it as French toast for my sons for breakfast. Instant success! I tried it with a fresh loaf, and it was even better. Either way, it’s over the top. If you don’t have Panettone on hand, use a high-quality raisin bread or brioche.

Panettone French Toast with Maple Syrup and Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Serves four


French toast batter
6 lg. eggs
2 c. whole milk
2 c. half-and-half
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract
Kosher salt to taste

Cinnamon whipped cream
1 c. heavy cream
½ tbsp. sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon

French toast
8 slices Panettone or good-quality raisin bread, cut about ½-inch thick
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 c. maple syrup
Confectioners’ sugar

1. To make the batter, in a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, half-and-half, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Season to taste with salt; transfer to a broad, shallow bowl; and set aside.

2. To make the whipped cream, in a chilled mixing bowl or bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the whipped cream and whisk a little longer or until the whipped cream thickens a little more. Cover and refrigerate.

3. Lay at least 2 slices of bread in the batter and let them soak 1-2 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, melt 2 tbsp. butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted, lift the bread from the batter, let the excess drip off, and cook about 4 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned and cooked through.

5. Transfer to a serving plate, top with confectioners’ sugar, a dollop of whipped cream, and a drizzle of syrup. Repeat to make four servings.

Scars of a Chef is available online at amazon.com, $16.

Photo: Tim Turner / Courtesy of SaltRiver