Growing up in the province of Milan, the presence of various panettoni in the house was reliably the earliest indicator that the Christmas season had returned. My father would receive a couple of panettoni as a gift from his workplace, my mother would bring one or two home she received from some the people she visited as a nurse, and my grandmas would always give us some of the ones they received since they couldn’t eat them all. Occasionally, right before Christmas, my family would also order an artisan-made panettone from their favorite local pastry shop.
Given the abundance of the seasonal sweet-bread, my family consumed panettone straight out of the box as dessert, afternoon snack, and even as breakfast. But after Sundays meals, and for sure on Christmas day, we used to serve panettone accompanied with something that made it even better: mascarpone cream and a glass of spumante!
What follows is the recipe that my grandmother passed down to my mother, who then passed it down to me. It’s quite simple to make, but it involves a certain amount of hand whisking. This preparation is what my family uses to also make tiramisù.
- 500 g fresh mascarpone
- 5 of the freshest eggs
- 5 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of rum
- Take the eggs and the mascarpone out of the fridge an hour ahead of time so that they reach room temperature.
- Soften the mascarpone by stirring it energetically for one minute in a bowl.
- Whisk together egg yolks and sugar until the mixture becomes smooth and lighter in color.
- Stir in a tablespoon of mascarpone into the egg mix. Continue stirring until no lumps are left, and the cream begins to thicken.
- One tablespoon at a time, incorporate the rest of the mascarpone.
- Beat the egg whites until very firm, then gradually incorporate 2/3 of them into the cream (discard the rest), mixing gently from the bottom up in a circular motion.
- Slowly stir in the rum, mixing until fully absorbed.
- Just before serving the panettone, ladle a generous tablespoon of mascarpone cream over each slice and enjoy!