Panettone Trifle with Rum Custard

Traditional Italian Panettone Christmas cake
Emma Innocenti/Creative RF/Getty Images
  • 75 mins
  • Prep: 60 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: Serves 12

Panettone is an Italian fruitcake that is enjoyed at Christmas. It's is a sweet, yeast-risen cake, brioche-like in texture, that is filled with dried fruit, and flavored with citrus. There are many similar versions of these European-inspired Christmas cakes throughout South America, including pan dulce de Navidad, and Chilean pan de pascua (which is more dense due to some German influence). Many families enjoy panettone with hot chocolate at Christmas time.

Panettone is a popular holiday gift, and no matter how much you enjoy it, it's easy to end up with leftovers. This recipe is a great way to transform an extra panettone into an elegant dessert, fit for a party (New Years, perhaps?). The panettone is soaked in a rum syrup, then layered with rum pudding and fruit, and topped with whipped cream. You can serve this in a trifle dish, or make it into individual "parfaits".

What You'll Need

  • 1 panettone (about 500-750 grams)
  • 1 cup chopped pineapple
  • 1 cup orange segments (or clementine)
  • For the Rum Syrup:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • For the Rum Custard:
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For Assembly:
  • 2 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Garnish: assorted Fruit

How to Make It

  1. Cut the panettone into one-inch square cubes, and place them in a large bowl.
  2. Prepare the rum syrup: Place the sugar, water, cinnamon stick, pinch of salt and lime juice in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in the rum and the vanilla.
  3. Spoon the syrup over the cubed pieces of panettone, and stir to make sure all the cake soaks up some syrup. Set aside.
  1. Make the rum custard: Place the egg yolks in a heat-proof mixing bowl. Add the sugar, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt and whisk vigorously until mixture becomes pale yellow.
  2. Add 1 cup of cream and 2 cups of milk to a large saucepan, and heat until it just starts to come to a boil. Gradually pour the milk mixture into the egg/sugar mixture, whisking constantly.
  3. Return entire mixture (milk, eggs, sugar) to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until mixture thickens and turns glossy about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then stir in the rum. Cover with saran wrap and chill mixture in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, or until ready to assemble trifle.
  5. Place the whipping cream in a large bowl and stir in the sugar. Whip cream until slightly stiff. Whisk 1/2 of the whipped cream into the custard. Set aside the rest for the top of the trifle.
  6. In a glass bowl or trifle dish, place a layer of the cubed panettone, using about 1/3 of the cubes. Add 1/3 cup of the diced pineapple and 1/3 cup of the orange segments. Cover fruit with 1/3 of the custard mixture. Repeat layers two more times, ending with a layer of custard.
  7. Spread the remaining whipped cream over the top of the trifle. Decorate the trifle with assorted fruit, such as more pineapple and orange, bananas, kiwi, grated coconut, pomegranate seeds, strawberries, blueberries or raspberries. Chill until ready to serve.

Note: To prepare trifle in individual parfait glasses, make 2 layers of cake, fruit and custard in each glass, and top decoratively with whipped cream and fruit.