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How To Repurpose Stale Panettone

Your holiday panettone doesn't stay fresh forever—here are some recipes to revive it.

The dessert spread is what I look forward to most each holiday season. Growing up, that meant gingerbread houses, sugar cookies, and some Indian sweets like ras malai and gulab jamun. My newest holiday obsession in recent years has been panettone—but keeping it fresh has been a challenge.

Panettone is an Italian sweet bread that originates from Milan, and it's traditionally enjoyed around the Christmas and New Year holiday season. With its domed top, candied fruit, and pretty wrapping, panettone makes for a festive centerpiece during the celebrations.

Food historians note that these breads have been made in the Milan region since the Middle Ages, but in more recent years, panettone's popularity has spread to other locations outside of Europe, including Japan, Brazil, and Australia, thanks to its soft texture, mildly sweet flavor, and typically affordable price. At Lidl, the Deluxe Panettone Classico retails for under $6, which helps explain how the chain sold five of them every minute during last year's holiday season.

Admittedly, there is one huge downside to panettone, and that's how quickly it becomes stale, often after only a day or two. The light texture dries out and the crumb takes on a stiff quality that's not very palatable—at least not for eating on its own. Luckily, there are several clever ways to rescue stale panettone and give it new life.

Turn panettone into an irresistible savory treat

For the savory snacker, Greg Wade, James Beard Award–winning baker and partner at Chicago's Publican Quality Bread, recommends turning stale panettone into a toast with chicken liver pâté and jam, which makes for a great appetizer at dinner parties. Here's Wade's recipe, below.


Recipe: Panettone Chicken Liver Pâté

  • 1 pound chicken liver
  • 2 ounces butter (for cooking)
  • 2 small shallots, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 spring rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup port
  • ¼ teaspoon pink salt #1 (optional)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces butter (for blending)
  • ½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Over high heat sear chicken livers with salt and pepper. Remove from the pan, reduce the pan heat to medium and add the 4 ounces butter, shallots, garlic and rosemary. Cook until tender. Return the livers to the pan and add honey and port, reduce until syrupy. Remove from heat and add pink salt. Combine the mixture in a vitaprep [or blender] and add heavy cream, blending butter & red wine vinegar. Blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning.


    For the toast, grab two slices of panettone and cut them ¾ inches thick. Add half a cup of the chicken liver pate and half cup of your favorite dark berry jam or citrus marmalade.

    Melt some butter in a pan over medium heat, cut the panettone into small triangles about 2.5 inches on the long edge. Toast the panettone in the butter until golden brown. Spread the pate on the toast, then top with the jam or marmalade.

Turn panettone into a no-bake tiramisu

If savory is not your vibe, one of the simplest ideas to revive dry panettone is to make a tiramisu. If you prefer a boozy approach, replace the coffee with cream sherry. The full recipe is below, courtesy of Lidl UK.


Recipe: No-Bake Panettone Tiramisu

Ingredients (serves 8):

  • 4 medium free range eggs
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 14 ounces mascarpone
  • 1 cup of fair trade coffee
  • Cocoa powder for dusting
  • Place a layer of sliced panettone on the bottom of a square dish. Pour a generous spoonful of strong black coffee over the panettone until the bread becomes soft, but not soaked. Separate eggs into two bowls, placing the whites in one bowl and the yolks in the other. Use a KitchenAid or electric mixer to whisk the egg whites on high speed for about 4 minutes until they become firm, and you can tip the bowl upside down without the eggs falling out.


    Add sugar to the egg yolks and use an electric whisk to mix for about 5 minutes until you achieve a smooth, creamy texture and the cream turns into a lighter color.

    Use a wooden spoon to combine the mascarpone with the egg and sugar mixture with no lumps and gently fold in all the egg whites, being careful not to create lumps. Pour the mascarpone mixture over the panettone in the dish. Place the dish in the fridge for at least four hours until the mixture has set. Dust with cocoa powder before serving.

Turn panettone into a good old timeless trifle

According to Farwin Simaak, home baker, recipe developer, and founder of Love and Other Spices, you can make an easy fruit trifle with cubed panettone, which can serve as a substitute for the cake typically found there. Here's Simaak's recipe.


Recipe: Panettone trifle

  • Cubed panettone
  • 1 large can of mixed fruits (any)
  • 1 or 2 packs of prepared custard (something like this)
  • Take a trifle dish or a casserole dish and fill the bottom of the dish with cubed panettone. Separately, drain the mixed fruit and collect the juice or syrup in a separate cup. You can also opt for fresh fruits if you prefer and can include anything you desire such as berries, apples, grapes, mangoes, or kiwis. Sprinkle the syrup over the panettone just enough to soak it. Once sprinkled, place the drained fruit on top of the panettone. Pour the custard on top of the fruits, covering it. Chill in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours before serving.


    If all else fails, you can revive the stale panettone by placing slices in a baking dish, sprinkling with a little water or milk, and baking until warmed through. The moisture helps restore it to a softer consistency, and you can then dip the bread into your coffee or sweet wine—or maybe use it as an exciting crouton in a winter salad.