Upside-Down Panettone French Toast (Rabanada de Panetone) and The Story Behind Panettone


Who doesn’t love panettone?  At my table, it is a family tradition!  In Brazil, Christmas dishes can vary from one region to the next, or even from family to family, yet panettone seems to be a near-unanimous national preference. Old-fashioned French toast (or rabanada in Portuguese) is another tradition handed down by my late maternal Grandmother,  a Portuguese descendant. By uniting two family traditions, I came up with my own, with this scrumptious Upside-Down Panettone French Toast (Rabanada de Panetone) – a festive treat that can be served either for Christmas breakfast or as a dessert.   Way cool, don’t you think?

Upside-Down Panettone French Toast (Rabanada de Panetone)

‘Wait a minute!  Isn’t panettone Italian?’ someone might ask… So ‘why is panettone a tradition in Brazil?’ Good question!

This dome-shaped sweet bread loaf from Milan, Italy is a tradition in Brazil because my native country is home to the largest number of Italians outside of Italy.  :)  They have brought their traditions along with them, and influenced both Brazil’s cuisine and its culture — especially in the Southern and Southeastern regions.

Although panettone is marketed under several brand names around the world, Bauducco is the most popular one in Brazil.  In recent years, Brazilian-made panettone has been available in the US at Walmart supermarkets, among other places. Panettone is also enjoyed in many other countries in South America, Portugal, Southeastern France, Spain, Germany, and Switzerland.  Its popularity is due to its delicious taste, low cost, and abundance.  The most traditional type contains candied fruits and raisins– but nowadays, many variations are available, such as this one with chocolate chips.

Panettone and Its Story...

Some of the other panettone flavors found in different parts of the world include tiramisu, lemon, pear, fig, and herbs.

Panettone is far older than one might imagine.  Its origins date back to the Roman Empire, when ancient Romans used to sweeten a type of leavened cake with honey.  Many centuries later, in its previous fruitcake-like shape, it appears in a sixteenth-century painting by the Flemish Renaissance painter Pieter Brueghel the Elder…

A scholar, a peasant and a knight under a tree in the Land of Plenty. Pieter Bruegel the Elder -- The Land of Cockaygne, 1567

…as well as receiving mention in a contemporary cookbook of that time, Opera dell’arte del cucinare,  penned by Bartolomeo Scappi — personal chef to popes and cardinals.

But only later, in the 18th century, did panettone come to be associated with Christmas.   It was referred to in the writings of the Milanese illuminist Pietro Verri, who recorded its name as “Pane di Tono” (luxury cake).

In the early 20th century, panettone began to be produced in large quantities in Italy, where it acquired its present tall, domed shape and light texture.  Its popularity soon spread to other countries, where it began to take on different flavors.

Nearly all who take a bite become instant fans.  Personally, I can enjoy panettone plain, toasted and spread with butter or jam, in sweet sandwiches, tiramisu, trifles, bread puddings, panettone french toasts, and in many other culinary creations.

Upside-Down Panettone French Toast (Rabanada de Panetone)

OK, I confess it…  I’m a huge fan of panettone!  Great is whoever invented it, and blessed are we who can feast our souls enjoying its sweet, airy richness.  Well, whether Bauducco brand or not, grab your panettone and come to the kitchen with me to prepare the best panettone French toast that you will ever have…

Upside-Down Panettone French Toast (Rabanada de Panetone)


P.S.: I am curious… What is your favorite panettone (brand and flavor)?

5.0 from 8 reviews
Upside-Down Panettone French Toast
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A festive, gorgeous french toast made from panettone, pears, and raspberries, that can be served for Christmas breakfast or as a dessert.
Recipe type: Breakfast/Brunch or Dessert
Cuisine: Brazilian Inspired
Serves: 8
  • 2 large ripe yet firm pears
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons light brown sugar, divided
  • 2-1/2 cups fresh raspberries, divided
  • A pinch of powdered sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (17.5 ounces) panettone (dried fruit/raisins or other of your choice), cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese, cut into ¾-in cubes)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).
  2. Peel and slice pears crosswise into rounds about ½-inch thick. Remove seeds carefully with a sharp paring knife. Using a medium to small star shape cookie cutter, cut into stars. Place the star-shaped pears in a large bowl, and toss all sides gently with a mixture of lemon juice (to prevent discoloration), cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. In a large non-stick skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the star-shaped pears and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar and cook, agitating the skillet, until the sugar has dissolved (about 30-60 seconds). Remove from heat.
  4. Lightly grease a dark 9- inch round baking pan with butter (or butter flavored non-stick cooking spray). Arrange the star-shaped sautéed pears into the buttered pan. Then, arrange raspberries (about 1 to 1-1/2 cups) in the empty spaces and sprinkle raspberries with a pinch of powdered sugar.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then whisk in milk, white sugar, and vanilla. Dip, tossing gently, panettone cubes into the egg-milk-sugar mixture just to moisten. Using a slotted spoon, transfer half of the panettone cubes to the pan, arranging into a single layer over the layered fruits until no empty spaces are seen.
  6. In a small bowl, mash with a fork 1 cup of raspberries with 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar. Then, pour and spread this berry mixture over the layered panettone cubes. Using a teaspoon, spoon mascarpone cheese over the mashed raspberries (or place cream cheese cubes over the panettone cubes) .
  7. Next, layer the remaining panettone cubes on top and pour any leftover egg-milk-sugar mixture over the layered panettone cubes, making sure that there is no empty space left. (At this point, the panettone French toast can be covered and refrigerated overnight if desired).
  8. Sprinkle 2 tablespoon of brown sugar on top and bake the panettone French toast, uncovered, for about 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on a rack.
  9. Run a knife around the edges gently. Place a serving tray/plate over the top of the pan, and carefully flip it over to unmold the panettone French toast onto the plate. If desired, sift a bit of powdered sugar on top of the panettone French toast to give a snow effect and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Extra fresh berries can be served on the side. Serve panettone french toast warm for breakfast, or chilled as a dessert (In this last case, drizzle berry coulis or Port wine sauce on top).
Raspberries are cultivated in both Southern and Southeastern Brazil.

Panettone French Toast… and panettone French toast…

…Panettone French toast.  Upside-down panettone French toast!  Festive panettone French toast 

my panettone French toast.  A delightful panettone French toast served for breakfast… 



Upside-Down Panettone French Toast (Rabanada de Panetone)

5.0 from 8 reviews
Rabanada de Panetone
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Essa rabanada de panetone é versátil, podendo ser servida tanto como café da manhã quanto como sobremesa. Pode ser feita feita e refrigerada no dia anterior para ser assada no dia seguinte. Não é muito doce e tem o toque de acidez da framboesa.
Recipe type: Café da Manhã ou Sobremesa
Cuisine: Brasileira (Moderna)
Serves: 8
  • 2 peras grandes maduras e firmes
  • Suco de 1 limão
  • ¼ colher de (chá) de canela em pó
  • Uma pitada de noz-moscada
  • 2 colheres de (sopa) de manteiga sem sal
  • 4 colheres de (sopa) de açúcar mascavo
  • 2-1/2 xícaras de (chá) de framboesas frescas (ou morangos)
  • Uma pitada de açúcar de confeiteiro, mais 1 colher de (sopa)
  • 4 ovos grandes, à temperatura ambiente
  • 1 xícara de (chá) de leite integral
  • ½ xícara de (chá) de açúcar granulado
  • 1 colher de (chá) de essência de baunilha
  • 1 (500 g) panetone (frutas secas / passas ou outro de sua escolha), cortado em cubos de 1 cm
  • 227 g de queijo mascarpone (ou requeijão cremoso ou cream cheese)
  1. Pré-aqueça o forno a 180 graus C.
  2. Descasque as peras e fatie em rodelas grossas de aproximadamente 1 de espessura . Retire as sementes cuidadosamente com uma faca pequena afiada. Usando uma forminha pequena ou média em formato de estrela, corte as rodelas em formato de estrela. Coloque as peras em forma de estrela em uma tigela grande e misture delicadamente todos os lados com uma mistura de suco de limão ( para evitar a descoloração ), canela e noz-moscada.
  3. Em uma frigideira grande anti-aderente, derreta a manteiga em fogo médio-alto. Adicione as peras e refogue por cerca de 30 segundos. Adicione 2 colheres de (sopa) de açúcar mascavo e cozinhe, agitando a frigideira, até que o açúcar seja dissolvido ( cerca de 30 a 60 segundos). Retire do fogo.
  4. Unte levemente com manteiga uma assadeira escura redonda (22 a 23 cm de diâmetro). distribua as peras refogadas na forma conforme a foto abaixo. Em seguida, ponha as framboesas (cerca de 1 a 1-1/2 xícaras) nos espaços vazios e polvilhe as framboesas com uma pitada de açúcar de confeiteiro.
  5. Em uma tigela grande, bata os ovos e misture o leite, açúcar granulado e a baunilha. Adicione os cubos de panetone `mistura e mexa delicadamente para que todos cubos de panetone sejam umedecidos. Usando uma escumadeira, transfira metade dos cubos de panetone para a forma, arrumando sobre as frutas, em uma única camada uniforme até que as frutas estejam totalmente cobertas pela camada de panetone.
  6. Em uma tigela pequena, amasse com um garfo 1 xícara de (chá) de framboesas e misture com 1 colher de (sopa) de açúcar de confeiteiro. Em seguida , despeje sobre a camada de panetone e espalhe. Usando uma colher de chá, ponha pedacinhos de queijo sobre a camada de framboesa amassada ou espalhe o requeijão por cima.
  7. Arrume outra camada uniforme de panetone por cima e derrame qualquer sobra da mistura de ovos-leite-açúcar por cima. Neste ponto, a rabanada de panetone poderá ser coberta e refrigerada durante à noite e assada no dia seguinte. Ou poderá ser assada imediatamente.
  8. Polvilhe uniformemente 2 colheres de (sopa) de açúcar mascavo por cima da camada de panetone. Leve a rabanada de panetone ao forno, descoberta, por cerca de 35-40 minutos ou até que o topo esteja dourado e um palito enfiado no meio saia limpo. Deixe esfriar por 5 minutos.
  9. Passe uma faca delicadamente ao redor das bordas. Coloque uma bandeja / prato de servir sobre a forma e, cuidadosamente, vire-a para desenformar a rabanada de panetone. Se desejar, peneire um pouco de açúcar de confeiteiro por cima para dar um efeito de neve e decore com folhas de hortelã fresca. Frutas frescas poderão ser servidas na lateral do prato. Sirva a rabanada de panetone quente no café da manhã, ou gelada como sobremesa ( Neste último caso, regue por cima com molho de frutas vermelhas ou molho de vinho do Porto .
Framboesa é produzida em algumas áreas montanhosas do Sul e Sudeste do Brasil. Pode ser substituída por Morango.

rabanada de panetone ou panettone French toast

Rabanada de panetone, cujo termo em inglês é panettone French toast.

Rabanada de Panetone ou Panettone French Toast. 




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44 Responses to Upside-Down Panettone French Toast (Rabanada de Panetone) and The Story Behind Panettone

  1. Lail | With A Spin December 11, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    I can never say no to any French toast. Love them. Very festive and flavorful Rabanada de Panetone. Thank you for the detailed history.
    Lail | With A Spin recently posted…Semolina and Coconut Cookie With Cardamom and Rose WaterMy Profile

    • Denise Browning December 11, 2013 at 11:19 am #

      Thanks, Lail! I have eaten several french toasts but nothing like this one! :)

  2. John@Kitchen Riffs December 11, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    This really is way cool! What an interesting idea. Great twist on French toast. I’ll bet this tastes wonderful! Thanks for this.
    John@Kitchen Riffs recently posted…The French 75 CocktailMy Profile

  3. Sugar et al December 11, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    I have never ever imagined a version of French toast could look so beautiful. I am a BIG fan of Panettone too and adding it to this dessert just makes me love it more. Gorgeous beyond words!
    Sugar et al recently posted…Pea, Potato and Prosciutto SoupMy Profile

    • Denise Browning December 11, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

      Thanks a lot, Sonali! I have eaten and eaten this like there is no tomorrow… :)

  4. Kumar's Kitchen December 11, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    wow…you are seriously a genius to combine these two heavenly treats into one…can’t imagine it remaining plated for more than a minute at our home…everyone is sure going to finish it off till the last crumb…gorgeous dish,delicious food clicks and a lovely article on food history,thanks :-)
    Kumar’s Kitchen recently posted…Savory Brunch : Crepe Rolls With Minty Scrambled Ricotta & A Quick Relish :-)My Profile

    • Denise Browning December 11, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

      Thanks, Kumar! The whole thing has almost disappeared within 24 hours. :)

  5. Little Cooking Tips December 12, 2013 at 7:43 am #

    Perfect! We don’t have fresh raspberries here in Greece, so we’ll have to improvise something to substitute (any ideas?:) ), but it sounds really delicious!
    Thank you Denise for another beautifully executed, delicious recipe!:)

    • Denise Browning December 12, 2013 at 8:08 am #

      Thanks a lot! You can use strawberries or any other berry instead of raspberries.

      • Little Cooking Tips December 13, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

        Sounds great! We ‘ll use some strawberries&blackberries together:) Thank you!

  6. Shashi @ December 12, 2013 at 7:50 am #

    I had no clue that Brazil was home to the most Italians outside of Italy!
    Your panettone/french toast sounds fabulous – love the pear in it!
    Shashi @ recently posted…“Thinking Out Loud” … About Peanut Butter/Peppermint/White Chocolate Cookies!My Profile

    • Denise Browning December 12, 2013 at 8:09 am #

      Thanks, Shashi! Italian immigrants have influenced both our cuisine and culture a lot.

  7. The Café Sucre Farine December 12, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    Panettone and raspberries? How could you go wrong? This looks perfect for holiday (and everyday) entertaining! Pinned!

  8. Abbe@This is How I Cook December 12, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Pannetone is not something I’ve ever eaten. You are now making me wonder what I am missing. I’ve seen many recipes but I am not a fan of candied citrus and if I recall that is in there. Perhaps there are other varieties? Love the art history!
    Abbe@This is How I Cook recently posted…Chicken Sofrito or Fry Me LightlyMy Profile

    • Denise Browning December 12, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

      Abbe: There are different flavors of panettone. This French toast was made with the chocolate chip one.

  9. Amy (Savory Moments) December 12, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    This looks so delicious and really beautiful! What a great idea and very festive!
    Amy (Savory Moments) recently posted…Sauerkraut two ways {and a special giveaway}My Profile

    • Denise Browning December 12, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

      Thanks, Amy! Welcome to FBTY. I am happy that you have stopped by…

  10. Nami | Just One Cookbook December 12, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Denise, this is a brilliant idea! And you reminded me that I haven’t bought (never made from scratch…) Panettone this year! How could I forget! This year everything (including holiday cards) are delayed… actually I haven’t started anything Christmas besides setting Christmas tree! >_< I must catch up, and this french toast is really a great idea that I'd love to make!!
    Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted…Green Tea Latte 抹茶ラテMy Profile

    • Denise Browning December 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

      I understand, Nami! Yes, the holidays are awesome but quite a busy time for everyone. I hope you find a time to shop and enjoy the season!!!

  11. Julia | December 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    This looks wonderful, Denise! What a great take on a traditional Christmas food in Brazil (as I just learned from your post :)). So, since you made it in a cake pan, does it make it a dessert then? Is Rabanada de Panetone usually a dessert, or is it more of a breakfast item?
    Julia | recently posted…Vanilla sugar cookies with sprinklesMy Profile

    • Denise Browning December 12, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

      Hi, Julia! This is a versatile, mildly sweet dish that can be serve either as a dessert or for breakfast.

  12. Ash-foodfashionparty December 12, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    How interesting, never knew the fact. I remember making panettone long long ago and now I just buy it, the quality is so good outside. Love french toast of any kind, I know this would be awesome.
    Girl, Christmas is almost here, I must say I’m a bit stressed. Just like Nami, haven’t done much as yet, then again, I just do it for fun, so I will sorta take it easy.
    hugs m’girl. This sure does look yum.
    Ash-foodfashionparty recently posted…FIGS-CHIA AND HAZELNUT COOKIES (Gluten free)My Profile

    • Denise Browning December 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

      Thanks, Ash! Take care…Wishing you a very happy season and holiday! xx

  13. Karen (Back Road Journal) December 13, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    This would certainly make a beautiful Christmas brunch item. It is so nice that it can be prepped the evening before.
    Karen (Back Road Journal) recently posted…Tiffany Snowflake CookiesMy Profile

    • Denise Browning December 13, 2013 at 7:14 am #

      Thanks, Karen! This is certainly good for breakfast/brunch and as a dessert as well. Thanks for stopping by!

  14. Daniela December 13, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    OMG, Denise,This Panettone cake looks divine.
    The pictures, colors and the creativity in your post is outstanding.
    Thanks so much for sharing.
    Daniela recently posted…From Spain With Love: Royal DelightsMy Profile

  15. Meena Kumar December 13, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    Hi Denise,just came to say thank you so much for stopping by my blog and look what I see here awesome looking Christmas dessert !! …oh yumm!! is all I can say.
    Love the mix of fresh fruits and dry fruits in the dessert.
    Meena Kumar recently posted…Broccoli and Bell pepper soup / Broccoli and Capsicum SoupMy Profile

  16. Deb December 13, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    Christmas traditions are such a precious combination of our individual histories! The Panettone French Toast is an extraordinary example, just irresistible Denise! Happy holidays!

  17. Coffee and Crumpets December 14, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    I love pannetonne, and I love using it for a French toast. This is an excellent way of making a one pan version! I love it!
    Coffee and Crumpets recently posted…Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato SaladMy Profile

  18. sowmya December 15, 2013 at 1:40 am #

    I love panettone… Thanks for unique idea to use some leftover panettone bread :)
    Beautiful clicks .. french toast looks yum :)
    sowmya recently posted…Stewed Lentils with Yogurt and CucumbersMy Profile

  19. Raymund December 16, 2013 at 3:40 am #

    That looks fruity delicious! perfect with a dessert wine
    Raymund recently posted…Filipino Style Chicken CurryMy Profile

  20. Shu December 17, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    Pannetone? AND french toast? Altogether?? NUTS. I hopped over from Coffee and Crumpets when I saw that in the commentluv link underneath your comment, because there was no way I could not click on a title that had two of those things together. That looks stunning, I could murder one right now! Love the story behind panettone; I had no idea, just been eating it with no regard ;) Thanks for sharing it and happy christmas to you!

    • Denise Browning December 17, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

      Thanks so much for the visit, Shu! As well as for the nice words. I am looking forward to stopping by on your blog.

  21. Amira December 17, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    The pictures in the non-English version are much bigger and clear than the English version!!! That’s discrimination my friend hahahaha :). I loved loved they way it looks … OMG so juicy and tender. Sure gonna look for it at Walmart next visit and definitely will try your recipe. Thanks for sharing … I’ve missed all your great recipes.

    • Denise Browning December 17, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

      Thanks so much, Amira! It is so good to have you visiting me again here. I have missed your posts as well. See ya in a sec!


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