‘Do You Want to See My Improv Show?’ and a Recipe for Panettone Bread Pudding


In this column, Katherine Knowles divulges recipes you can make in your tiny New York City kitchen.

There is one rule that I live by above all others: Friends do not make friends go see their level-one-class improv shows.

But if you ask me when my show is, and then ask me again, well, you, too, might end up at the Magnet Training Center on a stormy Sunday night, heading into the theater past the “absolutely no drinking” sign, to watch six strangers make up a musical for the very first time, for your benefit.

“We need a suggestion. Anything to get us started!”


“We now take you to Copper, The Musical!” *Jazz Hands*

Jon, who had to come, because we’re married and that was part of the deal, was sitting at the back with Wes, who didn’t have to come, but came anyway, because, well, who knows, really — very good friend? Secret masochist? Risk-taking lover of musical theater?

In front of them, a guy with seven-inch-high hair and a leather harness was surreptitiously checking his appearance on his iPhone camera between numbers, and making theatrical incremental adjustments to his bangs.

“Is he in the show?” asked Wes.

“No,” Jon knew better. “He’s just in New York.”

Panettone bread pudding (makes 8)

Improvising at the time, too, the first time I made these was to use up gifted panettone I had no other use for — at which point I discovered the other loaf I’d been saving had gone moldy. “Screw you, bread,” I thought as I cubed the panettone and covered it in custard. And I never looked back. These cute little puddings/cakes taste as though you’ve spent all day delicately spicing, but they actually take moments to make.

1/2 panettone (about 1/2 pound)
4 eggs
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
Butter the inside of the muffin tin (tins?).
Slice the panettone into 1-inch cubes.
Whisk the eggs, cream, milk, and sugar together, then add the panettone cubes. Let them soak for 10 minutes.
Arrange the panettone in the muffin tins, letting a few cubes stick up.
Bake until the pudding puffs up and crisps on the outside, and is set in the center — about 30 minutes.
Turn out and serve with some pouring cream.