The plump, round, dome-shaped panettone of light, golden brioche is one of Italy’s most delicious creations. Romance has it that in the fifteenth century, the beautiful daughter of a Milanese baker called Toni attracted a young aristocrat, who soon became the baker’s new apprentice. Used to fancier fare, the newcomer enriched the bread of Toni (pan di Toni) with fruit and citron peel, making it a household name. Make sure your panettone is neither iced nor chocolate-coated, or things could get messy.
Slice the panettone into four equal plate-size rounds. Wash and dry the berries. Hull any strawberries, but leave any red currants on their stems.
Combine berries, mint, liqueur and sugar in a saucepan. Heat very gently until berries are warm and starting to exude their own juices, and sugar is dissolved.
Heat the grill and lightly toast the panettone rounds on both sides. Arrange panettone on four plates and spoon berries and juices on top. Dust with icing sugar. Serve with a big bowl of natural yoghurt or cream.
© 1998 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.