Panettone is actually a little more versatile than you might expect. This is good to know if you end up with plenty of it left after Christmas and tired of eating it with coffee or a liqueur, tempted to toss out the remainder of the often substantially sized box. At an Italian Expo event some years ago, a chef who had worked in Milan served an amazingly simple sandwich from his restaurant’s booth. It was mascarpone slathered between a couple of slices from a panettone. It was very good, and extremely easy to replicate at home, and affordable. An inexpensive one kilo (two-pound-plus) panettone can be had for $10 or so. If good quality mascarpone is tough to find at your nearby grocers, you might substitute brie or cream cheese, though I can’t vouch that the results will be as tasty.
Another use was suggested to me by famed restaurateur Piero Selvaggio of Valentino a while back, especially for somewhat past-prime panettone. It makes the base for terrific French toast. Or, more accurately, that might be Milanese toast.
A slice of panettone at Cascina Vittoria in Certosa di Pavia last year. It was a lot better than anything that you can find here.