Pain perdu4 1.5cm-thick slices panettone, crusts removed3 eggs, lightly beaten 1 cup milk55 gm (¼ cup) caster sugar1 tsp vanilla extract1½ tbsp balsamic vinegar100 gm clarified butter or ghee 8 figs, halved lengthwaysSpiced cream200 ml double cream½ tsp ground cinnamon¼ tsp ground star anise3 tsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
For spiced cream, using an electric mixer, whisk cream, spices and icing sugar in a bowl just until soft peaks form, then cover and refrigerate until needed.
Trim panettone slices to make eight 6cm x 13cm rectangles. Combine eggs, milk, 2 tbsp sugar and vanilla in a shallow dish. Combine remaining sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Working in batches, soak panettone slices in egg mixture for minute on each side. Heat 1½ tbsp clarified butter in a large heavy-based frying pan and remove panettone slices from egg mixture, drain most of excess egg mixture and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden, then transfer to an oven tray and keep warm in a low oven. Wipe pan clean with absorbent paper, then repeat with remaining panettone, egg mixture and clarified butter.
Wipe pan clean, then return to medium heat. Heat 1 tbsp clarified butter in pan and, when very hot, add figs, cut-side down, and cook for 2 minutes or until golden, then add balsamic mixture to pan and cook for 30 seconds or until evaporated. Turn figs and cook for another minute, then remove from pan.
Divide pain perdu between warm plates, top with figs and a spoonful of spiced cream, then dust with icing sugar. Serve immediately with remaining cream passed separately.