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Pannetone pain perdu with flambéed winter fruits and vanilla ice cream

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For the pain perdu:

• 1 x pannetone/light Christmas cake
• 500ml milk
• 1 tsp of mixed spice
• 150g golden caster sugar
• 6 eggs
• 20g amaretto or brandy
• 25g butter
• 100g caster sugar

For the winter fruits:

• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 star anise
• 3 cloves
• 1 orange, peel (keep the juice for later)
• 4 plums, cut into wedges
• 4 quince (or you could use apples), cut into wedges
• Handful of blackberries
• Handful of cranberries/redcurrants
• 1 tablespoon of caster sugar
• Glass of liqueur (amaretto or brandy)

Make the custard: place the eggs, mixed peel and sugar into a bowl and mix till creamy. Add the cold milk, eggs and amaretto and leave to one side.

Slice the pannetone into chunky slices, cutting with a round cutter to make it really neat. Soak both sides in the custard batter.

Heat the butter in an All-Clad frying pan and gently fry the soaked pannetone in the butter, getting a really nice colour on both sides. Once coloured remove from the pan and keep warm.

Clean the pan with some kitchen paper and place back on the heat.
Add the spices and orange peel to the pan and gently heat – this will start to bring out all the natural flavours and aromas of the spices.
Add a teaspoon of butter to the pan and add the plums and quince. Gently fry till a little softer.
Add the blackberries and cranberries and sprinkle on the sugar – don’t heat too much as you don’t want the blackberries to break down and lose their texture.

Carefully add the liqueur and flambé. This will flame but it is just burning off the alcohol and leaving the flavour. Once the flames have died down add the orange juice. Turn heat right down.

In a separate All-Clad frying pan, gently caramelise some sugar. Add the pain perdu and coat in the caramel – this will give a really nice crunchy texture to the pain perdu. With the left over caramel, you could make some sugar decorations such as a sugar twirl or spun sugar ball.

Serve the caramelised pain perdu with the flambéed winter fruits on top.
Finish off with a scoop of ice cream and a sugar swirl.

Chef Will Torrent's tip



"Instead of serving vanilla ice cream, why not make some brandy ice cream or buy some luxury liqueur ice cream."
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