Unsurprisingly I'm not into the whole fad diets for the New Year situation, I appreciate the bounty of Christmas and sharing lovely times with my friends and family far too much to be told it's a guilty pleasure that must be atoned for in January. After the rich foods of the festive season I do usually gravitate towards fresh vegetables and fruit in the following weeks, but food is such an enjoyable part of life especially when shared with friends that I like to carry those good times into the new year too.

If you're anything like me you still have quite a few of those Christmas treats left in the cupboard that need using up, so I thought I'd share one of my favourite ways to turn a lonely little panettone into a gorgeous dinner party dessert.

This is a very slightly adapted version of Nigella's Italian Christmas Pudding Cake and since introducing it to my husband last year I'm sure it will be a regular request from now on! You'll notice that some of my quantities vary to Nigella's but that was really due to what was in my kitchen and we loved the result so much that I thought I'd give you my adulterated version instead. 

The change was also partly due to frugality as I couldn't justify spending twenty quid on some marron glaces and sadly don't keep a stock of them in my larder. I replaced them with Daim Bar Dairy Milk because I wanted to keep the caramelly crunch of the chestnuts but also because I wanted to add chocolate, so maybe we can call this the trailer trash version!

Panettone Pudding Cake
Serves 12-16


1 x 750g panettone
2 x large eggs at room temperature
75 grams of golden caster sugar
500g tub of mascarpone at room temperature
250ml double cream at room temperature
100ml marsala (optional but very yummy)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 x bar of Daim Dairy Milk, roughly chopped (or another 150g choccy bar of your choice)
100g pistachio nuts, roughly chopped


Using a bread knife cut your panettone into slices around 1.5cm thick. Take a springform or loose bottom cake tin (mine was 12 inch in size) and press some of the panettone slices into the bottom of the tin, ripping up bits as you need to make sure it is covered and there are no gaps of tin showing through then set aside - you're doing three layers like this so try and use about a third of the slices.

Whisk together the two eggs and the caster sugar for a good few minutes until you have a pale fluffy mixture that has increased in volume, then carefully whisk in the double cream, vanilla, mascarpone and marsala. I say carefully because if you go too fast you'll get covered in it!

When everything is combined into a gorgeous dreamy cream take out about a cupful and put it in the fridge - this is going to be the topping but this goes on just before serving. Now tumble the chopped chocolate and three quarters of the chopped pistachios into the remaining mixture and fold them together.

It's time to assemble to spoon half of your mixture into the cake tin on top of the panettone base and smooth it down with a palette knife. Pop over this another layer of fruit studded panettone and then smooth over that the remaining creamy chocolate nut mixture.Lay over your final blanket of panettone slices, then wrap up well in cling film and pop into the fridge until it's time to serve. I usually make this the day before the dinner party but you could do it up to two days in advance.

When it's time for pudding unwrap the cake and gently remove it from the tin. It's hard to get it off the bottom tin so I just leave it on it and pop that on to another prettier serving plate, just be careful you don't forget it's there when you're cutting it up. Grab the reserved cup of the cream mixture and spread it over the top of the cake before sprinkling over the remaining chopped pistachio nuts. I also add a dusting of edible metallic gold dust because I'm extra like that and I greatly encourage you do the same, but please don't feel you have to as it's gorgeous as is. Serve to your impressed guests and gain some friends for life.

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