How Nigella Lawson Takes Panettone To The Next Level

'Tis the season for crinkle cookies, gingerbread houses, and hot chocolate. Interspersed between shelves of these goodies are, of course, candy canes and eggnog cartons — but also one particular treat that holds its own every holiday season.

Panettones surface every December and are as festive as they are delicious. The Italian sweetbread originated in the 15th century and has since gone through various stages of evolution to become the dessert we know today. Eataly likens panettone to an Italian cake, made with cured dough and candied fruit. The exact origins of the dessert remain unclear though panettone's place in the canon of Christmas classics is definitive.

The most traditional panettones ooze with candied fruits while modern, creative takes flavor the bread with chocolate, pistachios, or other nuts. Chef Roy Shvartzapel, for instance, has made a name for himself in the panettone world, thanks to his traditional, but artisanal, panettones — as well as unique flavors, like pistachio amarena cherry, and a chocolate panettone that forgoes fruit entirely (via This Is From Roy).

One particular variation of panettone, however, employs a twist in texture, as well as in flavor. Food writer Nigella Lawson plays with panettone's tradition, drawing inspiration from other Italian treats.

Boost your panettone with a new texture and a Sicily-inspired flavor

Upgrade your classic panettone with Nigella Lawson's take on the dessert. In lieu of standard panettone, Lawson recommends an Italian Christmas pudding cake, which merges the flavors and fruits of panettone with cassata-like additions (per Lawson's website). According to The Italy Edit, cassata is a Sicilian dessert that encloses chocolate and ricotta in a marzipan shell, finishing off the treat with candied fruits. Lawson's recipe swaps mascarpone for Sicily's ricotta, but she incorporates crumbled marrons glaces (or candied fruits) alongside chocolate and pistachios — yet another Sicilian staple.

This festive cake likewise switches up the panettone's texture, so it's not unlike a tiramisu. With Lawson's recipe, you won't even have to bake your treat; instead, you can quickly conjure Italy's best flavors without waiting for your oven to heat — or your bread to rise.

Whether you stick with a panettone or Lawons's pudding cake, Christmas dinner may no longer be the star of the holiday season. With panettone, dessert — and even breakfast — gets its place in the sun or, in keeping with the holiday theme, under the mistletoe.