Panettone French Toast

I’ve been pondering what, if anything, I should close out the year with. In the past, I’ve written down my thoughts here, which I spent the last couple of days pondering. Reading and re-reading what I wrote, I realized that I couldn’t quite figure out what I wanted to say. And if I couldn’t figure it out, I didn’t feel like I should inflict that on you. But I knew one thing for sure: I had a lot of panettone on hand.

It’s been a great year in a lot of ways. The book I’d been working on for nearly two years came out, and a revised and updated cookbook that’s turning ten years old in March will be released in the spring. I also got to spend time with family members that I haven’t seen in a while. And doing so in 90ºF weather, in November, ain’t bad either.

One of the best articles I’d read this year was How to Beat Decision Fatigue (h/t Sara Rosso’s newsletter). It’s estimated we make 35,000 decisions a day, 226 of which are about food. And I can safely say that I could probably multiply that number by four or five. (Don’t even get me started how many times I agonize over just buying a plane ticket.) All the thinking, and overthinking, that we do – is it worth it?

I don’t know, but I’ve decided to do what I can to make fewer decisions in the upcoming year. This year ended with a flurry of travel on book tour. Not only was I struck by how great it was to meet many of you, but so were the people at the venues hosting my events.

During a podcast with Bjork, I realized that I’ve been blogging for nearly twenty years. It started off as being a place to share stories and recipes, some goofy (haiku about Italian candy), to thoughts after I lost a good friend. Things have changed, such as I finally got someone to set up a printing option for recipes (thanks, Emily!), but most of the tech stuff that needs to be added, or that needs to be updated every year, sails right over my head. So I have to hunker down and figure it out.

But I consider myself fortunate. When a recipe I’m testing doesn’t work, or I make a goof in the kitchen, or screw up the tech stuff, I think about how many people don’t even have food to eat, or electricity. And here I am, worried about a lopsided tart crust or a missed apostrophe. So I’m ending the year being thankful for having food on my table, and to everyone in my life, including you, my readers, for sticking around.

French Toast, which the French call Pain perdu (lost bread), doesn’t involve that much decision-making. But when I got an unexpected gift of several types of panettone from one of the nice people I met through the blog, Romina Rasmussen of Les Madeleines bakery, I did something I don’t do often enough: I made French toast. So I’m ending 2017 on a simpler note than I thought.

Recently heard something while idling through tv stations in a hotel room on my book tour. It was from the great Judith Sheindlin, otherwise known as Judge Judy. She was presiding over two people who had a problem with each other, which they carried over into social media. As the two people resumed bickering in front of her, she quickly cut them off (as she famously does), and said, “And I thought social media was supposed to bring people together!?” In spite of all the noise, and sometimes disagreeing, I’m glad we’re still together, after all these years.

Panettone French Toast
Print Recipe
2 servings
If you don't have panettone, substitute thick slices of another egg-enriched bread, such as brioche or challah.
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt
4 slices panettone, about 1 1/4-inch (4cm) thick)
butter, for frying the French toast
1. In a wide, shallow bowl, beat the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt together with a fork until well-combined. Place the slices of bread in the custard and gently press them down to help the bread absorb the custard, then turn them over the do the same to the other side of the bread.
2. Heat a good-sized pat of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the custard-soaked slices of bread to the pan and cook until they're browned on the bottom, about a minute. Turn the slices of bread over and fry on the other side until browned on the bottom.

Serving: Serve the French toast warm from the skillet with maple syrup, agave nectar, or your favorite topping for breakfast. (Blueberry compote or sauteed apples are also nice.) A little pat of butter could also go on top as well. It can be served for dessert, like the French do as pain perdu, along with a scoop of ice cream and some caramel sauce.

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  • Jacquie
    December 28, 2017 7:56pm

    I love french toast. Thanks, as always, for your recipes but more importantly your thoughtfulness. You’re a good egg, Mr. Leibovitz!

  • David Kellett
    December 28, 2017 7:57pm

    I’ve been doing this for a few years with panettone – but with a little sugar in the egg and no milk. I usually finish it in the pan with flaming Fangelico. I’ve usually sliced the panettone horizontally to make round slices. It’s lovely for pudding – like an instant bread and butter pudding in someways.

  • Jacqueline DeWolf
    December 28, 2017 8:41pm

    I really enjoy your blog and also your books. Always great advice

  • Kathleen
    December 28, 2017 8:58pm

    I use eggnog

  • Lorie Gong
    December 28, 2017 8:58pm

    I made this for our Christmas dessert and it was a huge hit. The leftovers were delicious the next morning…better than French toast!

    I also gave your book, “l’appart”, as Christmas gifts….9 in all.

    As one who went to Cal when Chez Panisse first opened and who Ioves to visit France, I feel we share a kindred spirit. Thank you for your wonderful blog.

    • January 13, 2018 5:51am

      Hi Lorie,
      I also went to Cal when Chez Panisse first opened, and love to visit France!

  • Alys.
    December 28, 2017 9:01pm

    We Brits make bread and butter pudding. My version is a take on the great Michael Smith’s version from his restaurant in Ilkey, Yorkshire, years ago. Soak a dried fruit selection in Marsala or similar, make apricot jam sandwiches with the panettone, not many though, and top the fruit with them ,with the points sticking up. Scatter with a little more fruit. Soak in a lot of egg and milk custard and allow to stand for a while. Grater nutmeg on top and a little Demerara sugar.(cassonade) Bake and serve immediately. I’m making it for my Winter Warmer fund raising ‘restaurant’ in January. It’s very popular!( and I make a lot of money for our Indian street children charity)

  • Lorie Gong
    December 28, 2017 9:03pm

    I just realized I commented on your French toast recipe instead of your Panettone bread pudding recipe. So please note that I am raving about the pudding. :)
    I now must try the toast!!

  • Susan Chiverton
    December 28, 2017 9:07pm

    as always, this recipe looks like something that i need to stop whatever else i’m doing and make it!!!!!

    but today, i’m making some other of your recipes for tonight’s dinner….french apple cake, cinnamon ice cream and salted butter caramel sauce. each is great on it’s own, but i think it will an outrageous combo!!

    thanks for being my favorite food guy!!!!

  • Polly Levine
    December 28, 2017 9:13pm


    I just want to let you know that I just left Bistro Paul Bert in tears. They continue to group all of the foreigners in the back and the locals up front. When I kindly asked, In French, if we could sit in one of the two front rooms they were incredibly rude and arrogant. I know you like this restaurant, and I too enjoy the food and atmosphere, yet they continue to treat foreigners like second class citizens. Its so offensive and unacceptable.

    • Richard Allan
      December 28, 2017 10:11pm

      Stopped going there years ago! UGH
      Richard Allan

      • Pam
        December 29, 2017 2:54am


      • Pam
        December 29, 2017 2:56am

        David Happy New Year!

    • Mo
      January 1, 2018 5:35pm

      We ate there in August. In the second room, but then Paris was “en vacance”. The appetizers and desserts were outstanding. The mains were mostly inedible. When we told them why we didn’t eat them, and yes, we were finished, they just did that French shrug and walked away. So many better places to go, but it has been on my hit list for a long time and we finally went there. Try Chardenoux. It’s fab!

  • AJPeabody
    December 28, 2017 9:13pm

    What? No sauteed bananas?

    Cut up ripe banana(s). Saute in equal amounts honey and butter until slightly browned (banana or butter, whichever comes first). Serve over French toast or ice cream or pound cake.

    Variation: Add cocoa powder.

  • Elaine Jacobs
    December 28, 2017 9:19pm

    Love you. Happy New Year.elaine

  • mumimor
    December 28, 2017 9:23pm

    That looks so delicious! For the first time in ages, I have had no panettone this year, and I miss it. Maybe I can get some during the January sales and try your recipes.
    Really I came in to say I was given your new book for Christmas, and read it in one go, staying up half the night! It’s so well written, and a bit of a thriller. I don’t know how you managed to keep up the blog during that time, it must have been terrible for you to deal with all of this.
    Thank you for all of your great work, and for this fine book.

  • Franklin
    December 28, 2017 9:34pm

    I`m just getting through your book, The Sweet Life In Paris, which I got Shakespeare and Co. a couple of days ago. I enjoy your writing style and I think I`ll like bringing some of your recipes into my kitchen. How nice, then, to get this post from you. Thank you for your particular style of writing and sharing how you see things around you.

  • Madeline
    December 28, 2017 9:34pm

    And thank you for this wonderful blog. Happiest of New Years to you.

  • Patrick Wright
    December 28, 2017 9:46pm

    Nonono! Judith Sheindlin is better known as “Judge Judy”, never “Judy Judge”.


    • Rachel
      December 28, 2017 9:59pm


  • Anne
    December 28, 2017 10:16pm

    The feeling is entirely mutual, David. Thanks for sticking around to you, too.

  • Beverly Burgoyne
    December 28, 2017 10:17pm

    Looks delicious! I wish you and Romain the happiest of New Year’s.

    Your blog always brings joy to my day – many thanks, David.

  • Bonnie L
    December 28, 2017 10:32pm

    The bakery at King Arthur Flour, in Norwich VT, sells a wonderful hazelnut brioche. We make sure we have one in the freezer every year for Christmas morning french toast, yum!
    Sadly, we don’t get a good panettone in our area.

  • Alexandra
    December 28, 2017 10:36pm

    You are killing me (said with a smile)…I made Panettone Bread Pudding using your recipe and it was so amazing and such a hit! It was too good actually! Now, the French toast…I don’t know if my waistline can manage this though.

  • JoAnn Cola
    December 28, 2017 10:43pm

    My breakfast of choice last week. It is truly delicious, even when it is plain. I’ll try it your way next. It sounds even better. I’ve never been disappointed by your recipes, so am glad you take such care.
    Happy New Year from the Bay Area!

  • Gayle
    December 28, 2017 10:50pm

    Imagine my surprise when I saw this entry. My niece and her fiancée were here overnight last night and I made panettone French Toast for our breakfast.

    Luckily, I brought about 4 kilos of butter home from Paris with me last month, so the French Toast was extra good!

    Happy New Year, David. We’re glad you’re here too!

  • Zoe Simkin
    December 28, 2017 10:57pm

    Thank you for your wonderful blog. I have learned a lot making your recipes. Happy New Year!

  • darla
    December 29, 2017 12:08am

    I have been making this for about 10 years now. We always have it Christmas morning and New Years morning. I use heavy cream in place of the whole milk. Also fresh nutmeg. It is an amazing breakfast. i have also served it for dinner too. It also freezes well, we just pop it in the toaster oven to warm it up. My daughter and husband love it. Happy New Year!

  • Alison
    December 29, 2017 12:30am

    And I’m thankful for YOU. You’re pretty much the only food blogger I’m interested in. When we lived in Paris, I got many wonderful tips on shopping, restaurants, and medical care from your blog (Thank you for donating to the AWG Gala last spring, BTW). Now I’m back home, and just pull numerous recipes. Your writing has enriched my life, and I appreciate it.

  • Maxim
    December 29, 2017 12:39am

    Thanks for your 20 years of blogging. I appreciate your work and thoughtfulness.

    • Jane
      December 29, 2017 1:01am


  • Carla
    December 29, 2017 1:38am

    Thank you for a great blog! Yours is one of the first food blogs i started reading a few yrs ago, always a great read, awesome recipes, funny, thougtful & mouthwatering photos!

  • rainey
    December 29, 2017 1:47am

    Seems like for French Toast slicing it horizontally into rounds would be attractive.

    • December 30, 2017 5:09pm
      David Lebovitz

      Good idea! It would, but you’d probably need a large skillet to cook them in, unless you were preparing one slice at a time ; )

  • Kimberly Lullo
    December 29, 2017 3:01am

    You are so right about keeping our problems in perspective. Thank you for reminding us. Much love to you and Romain in the New Year.

  • Margaret Z.
    December 29, 2017 3:08am

    Ooooo great idea for French toast and thanks for adding the Pinterest link. That is how I save recipes.

    Happy New Year!

  • Deborah
    December 29, 2017 4:27am

    Dear David

    I’m a newbie to your blog, less than 5 years, maybe even a little less than that. While I doubt I’ll travel to France or even meet you in person, I have grown quite fond of seeing your latest blog post pop into my inbox or reading — gobbling up — your latest book. (It’s a similar feeling to having an friend’s letter appear in the mailbox.) Your food and recipes are delicious. I hope to see both in my inbox for quite some time to come.

    Happiest of New Year’s to you and yours. All the best from Texas!

  • Catherine
    December 29, 2017 6:25am

    Thank you David. For your recipes, your stories and your humour. We will be in SW France in late January and I shall be taking you and your recipes via your blog with me.

  • December 29, 2017 8:36am

    What a great idea to use leftover panettone! Can’t wait to try it :) Happy new year!

  • Jlhpisces
    December 29, 2017 9:20am

    It’s always a pleasure to see your posts in my queue to read. You’re using your powers for good.

  • Margaret
    December 29, 2017 11:21am

    Just to say thanks for continuing to blog, for consistently interesting and thoughtful writing, and for recipes that work. I met you a couple of times at Meg’s (Too Many Chefs) appartment in Paris 15 years ago, and the people blogging then who continue to do so today are few and far between. It’s always a pleasure to read your latest posts. Thank you.

  • Margot Wellington
    December 29, 2017 2:03pm

    Happy New Year!
    Dear David,
    I read your wonderful blog and have read all your books. Your insights into Paris life are precious. I bought a tiny apartment 33 years ago and renovated it completely 20 years ago.
    As I read your book I began to feel so sad, thinking that working with a good architect as I did would have prevented almost all of these mishaps from occurring. It must have been hard to write what you did.
    Applause, Margot Wellington

  • Susan
    December 29, 2017 3:10pm

    A very timely topic David. I have 2 panettones on the way from a west coast specialty food shop and french toast seems just the thing. One has bits of chocolate and orange and the other has lemon. While hardly cuisine minceur, a rare breakfast of french toast will be nice. Love your blog and your sense of humor. Keep on keepin’on David. Thank you and good health to you.

  • Kristen
    December 29, 2017 4:54pm

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful blog with us. Best wishes in 2018.

  • sylvia mills
    December 29, 2017 9:23pm

    Enjoy everything you write, and your recipes are among my favorites. Warm wishes for a happy new year with many less decisions to make.

  • Susan S.
    December 29, 2017 10:45pm

    Hi David,
    I couldn’t find any way to get in touch with you regarding a technical issue with your site, so I hope you don’t mind my alerting you here.
    For several months now I’ve been unable to get your RSS feed on My Yahoo, no matter what browser I use.
    I get the message “This feed from couldn’t be loaded right now. You can try again, but if it still does not work you may wish to remove this feed.”
    I’ve tried removing it and resubscribing, but that didn’t work. I do get other feeds from feed burner without issue. So I don’t know what the issue is or remedy, but I miss seeing your posts on my homepage.

    • December 30, 2017 5:06pm
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Susan, I don’t use Feedburner anymore and my feed likely changed when the URL changed from http to https. (One of those fun tech things that had to be done this year, to comply with Google guidelines but also for security.) The feed right now is although that leads to a page of code, so I put in a message to my web folks to find out if there is another web address or way to add the site to your feed. I’ll update that here if/when I find out. Thanks!

      • Susan S.
        December 31, 2017 12:25pm

        Thank you for getting back! I’ll admit I’m not too tech savvy though.
        Right now using that address in the “add feed” box of My Yahoo doesn’t work. What’s weird though is that if I click on the notification from Feedburner, I still get taken to your feed and it is updated … so somehow you are still on there, just not on my homepage. Mystery.

        • January 8, 2018 11:46pm
          David Lebovitz

          Hi Susan, My web people looked into it and said this “I couldn’t get it picked up in MyYahoo either though. Feed validators were saying it was a valid feed…it may be that that format is no longer being supported by some feed readers. I’ve disabled it so it’s back to default.”

          Which I think means, try it again : )
          Hope that helps!

  • Jane B
    December 30, 2017 4:29am

    I’m excited that Romina from Les Madeleines sent you some of her delicious panettone. I don’t live in Utah any longer so I miss stopping by her shop in Salt Lake City to pick up whatever she made that day. Her kouign amann is to die for….and I was always lucky to snag a panettone during the holidays. After a few days of enjoying slices of panettone with wine I would make French toast with it. It’s the only way I can get my husband to eat candied fruit.
    I’m going to try the bread pudding recipe for New Years Day.
    Cheers to a great 2018.

    • December 30, 2017 5:07pm
      David Lebovitz

      I’ve not been to her bakery but we e-met many years ago when I first started writing about Kouign Amann and people were asking me more about them, and I found out she was making them! Her panettone is excellent and she was kind enough to send me a few for the holidays. Enjoy the bread pudding!

  • Evelyn
    December 30, 2017 4:29pm

    …..and I am thankful to you, dear David, for the levity and delicious recipes you share throughout the year. Oh yes, and for the vicarious pleasure I get when you write about your trips. You are a good one! Happy 2018

  • Bebe
    December 31, 2017 2:38am

    Thank you, David. I visit you every morning…(today an exception)….and get so much pleasure out of your posts. Have a number of your books even though cooking is not as exciting for me as it used to be… Reading about food and cooking and baking are still low cal pleasures!

    Wishing you the very best New Year ever…


  • Catalyst
    December 31, 2017 6:35am

    Daveed! I’ve just finished reading L’Appart and, quite frankly, I don’t know how you got through that year (plus) without committing le meurtre. It was a great read but incredibly trying. You are a truly amazing individual.

  • December 31, 2017 1:18pm

    Definitely looks good. I’ll have to whip myself up some gluten free panettone. If anyone has a good recipe for panettone that I could convert, feel free to share.

  • Janet
    December 31, 2017 8:50pm

    You’re such a bad influence, David. When I read your bread pudding recipe I had to rush out and buy Autentico. Somehow, 2 panettone leaped into my grocery cart today…and the we’re 75%off. Bread pudding is on the menu for later this week, maybe french toast tomorrow. How am I going to fit in a galette de roi? Happy New Year!

  • Karen Brown
    January 1, 2018 8:18am

    Dear David, although I live on the other side of the world, I feel I can address you as “Dear David”. Through many years of reading your books and blog, I feel like you are holding my hand in the kitchen when I cook from your recipes, that you are walking me through the streets of Paris when you write about your adopted home.
    A big “thank you” for writing in a way that connects with your readers. Too many blogs feel as if a corporation is lurking behind the masthead.
    Best wishes to you and Romain for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
    Your faithful reader from the South Seas, Karen Brown

  • Mary O'Donoghue
    January 1, 2018 1:56pm

    Happy New Year, David. I read your blog with pleasure throughout the year, and I want to thank you for the warmth, good advice and good fellowship you bring to all of us with your writing!

  • Sabra Ledent
    January 1, 2018 6:19pm

    David, I just finished reading l’Appart and alternated between laughing and crying, feeling your pain. I’ve been through a kitchen renovation, and though I didn’t have a contractor as wretched as “pas de probleme” Claude, mine came pretty close. I just wish you had included “before” and “after” photos. I had a hard time imaging the cave! HNY from Montreal.

  • Francine Coallier
    January 1, 2018 6:37pm

    merci pour l’inspiration. j’ai préparé le “pain doré” comme on appelle ce plat au Québec, servi avec du sirop d’érable, pour notre déjeuner du jour de l’An. je profite de l’occasion pour vous souhaiter une bonne et heureuse année et longue vie à votre blog que je fréquente toujours avec autant d’intérêt depuis de nombreuses années. félicitations. sujets, photos, textes inspirants.

  • January 2, 2018 12:23am

    if i had a #hallpass from being celiac, this would be one of my gluten indulgences! yum xb

  • Laura Anderson
    January 2, 2018 1:23am

    Happy New Year to you and mille mercis for your excellent blog!
    Will you please direct us to, or share the name and recipe for, what appears to be a pair of fruity/nutty slices alongside the cup of coffee in the photo with today’s post.
    Thank you!

    • January 2, 2018 2:52am
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks and hope you had a good holiday. Those are Fruitcake bars and I updated that post recently with new photos. I linked to it at the end of the newsletter as well : )

  • adrian
    January 2, 2018 11:45am

    David, Thanks for all the stories and recipes! And your books :)
    Happy New Year!

  • Nicolette
    January 2, 2018 5:39pm

    David, experiencing extreme cold here in NY but kept warm in spirit if not body, by reading your renovation experiences and waiting for you to ‘loose it’!

    ‘Pas de probleme’ is something that took me back to my living in Paris when at times, I would be ready to tear out my hair while battling against the bureaucratic levels of French paperwork. I remember standing in the bowels of a medieval donjon somewhat impatiently, while a discussion was going on between ‘civil servants’ about their latest dates with boyfriends, and how my photo made me look like an actress they liked…what was her name? This was after hours and hours of trying to complete my graduate student ID. And then finally, after getting the carte back, I noticed that the dates were wrong and when I pointed this out, she calmly shrugged that famous French shrug (pas de probleme) and proceeded to use white out and put in the corrected dates. The problem was that the carte was a deep orange and well, for ever after, I lived in fear that when asked to produce my ID, the authorities would see that splash of white and I would be left trying to explain that it wasn’t tampered with by moi!

    Thank you for giving me throughout the years in your blog and books, a place to land in when I need to escape the world. Whether it was a great tutorial on creating a tasty meal; or taking me along with you to a fabulous marketplace or making me smile when you describe your life across the pond. I look forward to all your adventures in 2018!

  • Kelly
    January 2, 2018 5:47pm

    Dear David.

    I made your Panetonne bread pudding and it was divine! I don’t know what I was expecting, but the lightness, the fluffiness, the moistness…the buttery/sugary top…superb! I’ve been reading your Sweet Life in Paris in anticipation of a trip w/my daughter in April, and LOVE it, too! Thank you for making Paris feel accessible–with your insights and advice, I feel ready and capable to visit The City. Kind regards, and Happy New Year!

  • Karen Graham
    January 5, 2018 5:10pm

    Just made this with leftover chocolate chip Panetonne. Using good Canadian maple syrup and it is delicious. I’m also reading and enjoying your new book.