How Giada De Laurentiis Puts Stale Leftover Panettone To Use

Panettone is a classic Italian dessert, and it's one of the many international Christmas cakes that pop up around the holiday season. As an Italian chef, Giada De Laurentiis has had plenty of experience with panettone, and even has her own panettone bread pudding recipe with over 300 reviews and five stars on Food Network's website. But, what else does De Laurentiis do with her leftover sweet bread when the holiday season ends? It turns out, she makes croutons.

In a video posted to her TikTok account, the chef shared that — after copious amounts of pasta, tenderloin, and other Christmas foods — she needed a salad. To top it, De Laurentiis took advantage of her leftover panettone, cutting the loaf into cubes and toasting it in the oven to make the croutons to top a Caesar salad dinner. Followers of her social media page were largely on board with the idea, with one even suggesting to top ice cream with panettone croutons instead of doing so with salad.

What kind of salads would pair with panettone?

Panettone is a unique dessert bread, with the traditional recipe containing bits of candied lemon zest, citron, orange, and raisins — so what kind of salad would be elevated by croutons made with it? Giada De Laurentiis mentions that, for her dinner, she opts for a Caesar salad. It makes sense since Caesar salad dressing is made with a decent amount of lemon juice, so the citrus and lemon flavors in the panettone crouton can pair nicely. And, really any salad with a citrus-based dressing could be spiced up with a handful of crispy panettone bits.

Besides being stuffed with fruit, the Italian Christmas classic can also be chocolate-glazed or filled with the flavors of rum, raisins, and chocolate. If you've got your hands on this variety of panettone, you might be better off using your croutons to top a salad that's filled with berries or grapes like a waldorf salad, or one that already incorporates raisins. In Mexican cuisine, chocolate is often used in savory dishes. So if you're feeling like experimenting and blending flavor profiles from around the world, you could try topping a salad that incorporates notes of chile peppers with a chocolate panettone crouton.

Giada is filled with more panettone tricks

One commenter on Giada De Laurentiis' TikTok crouton video mentions their affinity for the chef's panettone French toast, and the decadent breakfast looks like another perfect way to use up any leftover sweet bread. Unlike a traditional French toast, De Laurentiis' recipe has a few upgraded ingredients: heavy whipping cream, whole milk, mascarpone cheese, and, of course, panettone as the bread base of it all.

To pull off this recipe, the eggs, whipping cream, milk, and sugar are whisked together in a bowl, and the panettone is then dipped in this mixture and cooked on a griddle like a traditional French toast. Mascarpone French toast recipes incorporate the cheese directly into the egg-based mixture, but in this case, the mascarpone can be dolloped on the final product. 

De Laurentiis tops everything off with her own homemade cinnamon syrup made from brown sugar, whipping cream, and cinnamon. Because traditional panettone contains those bits of candied citrus and raisins, it makes for a more interesting and flavorful bite of French toast than your normal brioche or white bread.