The theme that Zorra
chose this month is Puddings 
. This includes an extremely broad category of foods. Depending upon where you live, the definition a pudding is wildly diverse. Puddings can be baked, steamed or boiled. The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink 
defines pudding as follows:.
“A term describing several different desserts, usually cooked, including cake like confections such as plum pudding; or a dish of suet crust containing fruits and sugar; or a spongy steamed dish; or a pastry crust filled with chopped meats, like kidney; or Yorkshire pudding, a crisp, bread like side dish made from a flour-and-egg batter cooked in pan drippings; or, as is most usually in contemporary usage, milk-based dessert made with flavorings like chocolate or vanilla cooked with a starch until thickened and then cooled until well set…In the present century a pudding almost always means a soft-textured, milk-based dessert, the most popular being those packaged commercially and a large number of which, called “instant puddings,” require no cooking at all…”
So, you see, the possibilities here are endless!
For my SHF
entry, I chose to make Panettone
Bread Pudding with raisins and and a Scottish Cream custard sauce. For those who don’t know, panettone 
is is a typical sweet, cake-like bread, probably originating in Milan, and usually prepared and enjoyed during the Christmas season all around Italy. The dough is an acidic one, similar to sourdough. It is cured for a long time and then proofed for several days. This proofing process gives the cake its distinctive fluffy characteristics. Traditionally, it usually contains candied orange peel or lemon zest, as well as raisins. Many other variations are available also, such as panettone
with chocolate chunks. I purchased my panettone
at an Italian specialty store, but I have seen it at my local supermarket as well.
The original recipe is one of Giada’s 
. It calls for amaretto to be added to the sauce, but I decided to use some Scottish Cream liqueur instead. First of all, I love it and I felt that it would make a richer custard. Second, I still have a bottle left from my trip to Scotland last year, and I try to use it whenever I can. I really liked the flavor of the custard with this liqueur and it did make it really rich and thick. The brand that I used is Drumgray 
. I don’t know if it is readily available in the U.S., but you can certainly substitute Bailey’s Irish Cream 
instead. You can find that everywhere.
I also added extra raisins to this dish, because, well….I really like raisins. I have also added other dried fruits to this, such as cherries and apricots.
The preparation of this dish is very simple. First, you need to chop the bread into chunks. Then, mix up a custard base using milk, cream, eggs and sugar. Pour the custard over the panettone and bake it. What you top it with after that is up to you. You can make a sauce like I did, or you can use maple syrup or fruit preserves. I have served this with both ice cream and sweetened mascarpone as well. If you have the time, I urge you to try the custard sauce. It really is good and it is the traditional way to serve this pudding. This dish would make a lovely and delicious addition to any Holiday table!
Here’s another lovely Christmas carol 
to get you in the Holiday mood while you make this pudding!.
Panettone Bread Pudding with Scottish Cream Custard Sauce
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup Scottish Cream liqueur
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 (1pound) loaf panettone bread, crusts trimmed, bread cut into 1-inch cubes
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
To make the sauce:
- Bring the cream, milk, and sugar to a boil in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. In a small bowl, mix the liqueur and cornstarch to blend and then whisk into the cream mixture. Simmer over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Set aside and keep warm. (The amaretto sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before serving.)
To make the bread pudding:
- Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Arrange the bread cubes in the prepared dish. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, milk, and sugar to blend. Pour the custard over the bread cubes, and press the bread cubes gently to submerge. Let stand for 30 minutes, occasionally pressing the bread cubes into the custard mixture.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake until the pudding puffs and is set in the center, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly.
- Spoon the bread pudding into bowls, drizzle with the warm custard sauce, and serve.