1 Italian Panettone, about 1.2 pounds
Unsalted butter, for greasing the dish
4 extra-large whole eggs
8 extra-large egg yolks
3 cups half-and-half
2 cup crème fraiche
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup raw sugar
½ cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
½ cup dried Cherries
½ cup currents
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut the Panettone loaf into 1-inch cubes and place on a sheet pan in a single layer. Toast the Panettone for 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
Grease a 9 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish with the butter. Place the panettone cubes in the baking dish. Add the nuts, cherries and currents to the pan and toss.
In a large bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, half-and-half, crème fraiche, vanilla extracts, cardamom, basil and sugar. Pour this custard mixture over the panettone. Set aside for 10 minutes so the bread soaks up the custard.
Place the baking dish into a larger pan and add very hot tap water to the larger pan until it's halfway up the side of the baking dish. Cover the larger pan with aluminum foil, making a tent of the foil so it doesn't touch the pudding: I use takeout chop sticks to hold up the foil. Cut a few holes in the foil to allow steam to escape. Bake the pudding for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40 to 45 more minutes, until the custard is set and the top of the pudding is light golden brown. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I have also made this with apricots, pumpkin and fresh berries. Depending on the time of year you may need to use a nice bread if the panettone is not available.