Pannetone French toast with orange-bourbon syrup

…or, Special Christmas Breakfast

I really haven’t gotten into the holiday spirit this year. No baking, no candy, nothing. I still have time to pretend I’m Russian, though, in which case the New Year celebration is more important. Technically, my people were German-Russian for a hundred years or so, and I’m calling that close enough. Ooh! Also, I found out recently that my great-grandmother was half Tatar (my father claims her conception was nefarious, but I can find no information that supports the claim that Mongol raids of the Volga were still happening in the 19th century). My first reaction was not surprise, or shock, but “omg, really? I’m part Asian? I knew it!” Now the slight almond shape to my eyes, my Nipponophilia and my hard-on for Stephen Chow makes so much sense. Being 1/16 Volga Tatar makes me practically Chinese, right?

But that’s neither here nor there, and is typical of my digressions. On my journey to Trader Joe’s (partly for sustenance, partly to escape cabin fever), I picked up one of my favorite holiday treats, pannetone. They didn’t have any of my real fave, the orange and chocolate chip (I honestly haven’t seen that kind in about a decade), so I grabbed the cranberry instead. Then I proceeded to forget that we had it for a couple days, just long enough for it to go a little stale.

Then I had the stroke of genius to make French toast with the pannetone (of course, now I find out that Giada deLaurentis makes it). I whipped up a quick batter of cream and eggs, orange zest, my homemade seven-spice and bourbon vanilla, a pinch of salt and a spoonful of sugar. I browned it in butter, then topped it with powdered sugar and a syrup of orange juice and zest, sugar and Maker’s Mark, simmered until thick and good.

Serve with a little holiday cheer (in this case, mimosas, but I’ll also accept “screwdriver”, a propos of Russia). S Novim Godom!