When I get bored, I start to raid my refrigerator. That's how I came upon a half used and completely forgotten pack of panko. Since opening it, I had wound it in an elastic band and thrown it to the back of the fridge where it languished for um.....weeks? Worse, I had bought and used up at least 3 new packs since then! For shame.

I couldn't bring myself to toss it as a wary sniff told me it was still perfectly edible and looked fine compared to some of the psychedelically hued, fuzz covered items I have evicted from my fridge from time to time. *ahem* So, hands up anyone who loves panko as much as I do? 

Everyone uses it for gratins, fry ups, crab cakes and even bulking up sauces (I once saw a friend do this, but she doesn't know I caught her in the act, so *shhhh*). But, who makes dessert out of panko? I do.

How's this for no-knead bread huh? Though I'm not sure if this is bread, so much as a yeasted dessert. It really doesn't matter - it's so easy, a child could do it and it's pretty damned elegant.

I made this for two reasons ; the first being my compulsive need to use up everything in my kitchen and the second, the desire to dispel the myth that yeast cookery is all serious, artisanal, hoo-ha. Well, it's not - it can be fun too, in fact, it should be!

These may have been fun to make but they turned out seriously delicious and even better than I could have hoped. Think of savarin and yeasted fruit topped kuchen, only much more decadent. Count on at least two per person and serve with a rum, vanilla or orange liqueur sauce.

A dollop or swirl of whipped creme, mascarpone or creme fraiche won't disappoint either. Hell! Just devour them straight out of the tin!

Prep 15 mins  Cook 20 mins  Makes 12

100 g (2/3 cup) soft butter
100 g (2/3 cup) fine sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
150 g (1 1/2 cups) panko
2 1/2  tsp yeast
130 ml (2/3 teacup) water
200 g mixed berries of your choice (I used sliced strawberrries and whole blueberries)
2 Tbsp soft brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp  melted butter for drizzling

Cream together the butter, sugar and salt until creamy and light. Beat in the vanilla and eggs, one at at time, ensuring the first egg is incorporated before adding the second.

Add the panko and yeast to the mixture and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Pour in water and mix until evenly moist and sticky, like really thick porridge, or wall paper paste.

Half fill a 12 cup muffin tray with the mixture. Top each bit with some berries. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle some of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the berries and drizzle with a little of the melted butter.

Leave the mixture aside until almost doubled in volume. This should take about an hour on a relatively warm day. Forty minutes into rising, preheat oven at 190 C (370 F).

Bake for 15  - 20 minutes or until golden and kitchen smells divine.

Remove from oven, and leave to settle for about 5 minutes before removing from tin. Cool on a rack and serve slightly warm as suggested above.