As far as I know this has never been an Italian dish; instead it seems to have been invented simultaneously by various cooks around the world, not least by my colleague
Cut the panettone in half and then slice into 1 cm slabs. Butter these and butter the ovenproof dish. Mix the cream, sugar, milk and eggs thoroughly to a custard. Scatter the base of the dish with a few raisins then arrange the slabs of buttered panettone on top, overlapping like roof tiles. If you have not got enough slices from a ½ panettone to fill the dish, cut and butter some more. (Hence the rather vague quantity given above.) When the dish is covered by the layers of overlapping slices, stop and insert more raisins. Pour over all the custard mix, and poke about a bit until you are sure the liquid has penetrated under the slices. Leave to soak for 1 hour. The panettone will by this time have absorbed some of the liquid.
This is best served at room temperature, 1–2 hours out of the oven. I have been known to scatter the top with icing sugar and brown further under the grill.
© 1996 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.