Panettone bread pudding has to be the most festive of bread pudding of them all, and it’s so easy to make. Made with whole milk, it has no added sugar except for a little... brown sugar to help crisp up the top. Panettone is loaded with candied citrus and dried fruit, so there’s plenty of sweetness already in it to infuse with the eggs and milk. But if looking for extra richness for this holiday treat, consider swapping out one of the cups of milk for unsweetened evaporated milk. It’s delicious.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a non-reactive 4-cup baking dish. Set aside. (Since panettone is round, you can also use a souffle or other deep round dish for this.) Boil a kettle of water. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Beat in the milk a little at a time until it is all used up. Beat in the nutmeg, lemon zest, and vanilla if using. Set aside.
Cut the panettone slices into triangles – it will help you to fit them all in the baking dish. Lightly butter each slice on one side. Line the bottom of the dish with a single layer of bread, buttered side up. Repeat, until all the panettone slices are used up.
Pour the egg custard over the bread. It should almost cover the top slice without submerging it. Sprinkle the top with the brown sugar and dot with butter.
Set the baking dish into another larger ovenproof dish and put into the oven. Carefully fill the ovenproof dish with the hot water from the kettle so that it comes ⅔ the way up the side of the pudding dish. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until set and a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature with Greek yogurt or, if it's the holidays, a little whipped cream.
To cut the panettone: first cut the loaf in half, top to bottom, then cut 6 to 8 slices around ¾-inch thick.
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