French Toast Casserole
I was recently invited to a bridal shower, and asked to either share a favorite recipe for the bride, or a recipe for a lasting marriage. Being that I’ve been divorced and single for 7 years, I’m guessing what they’ll want is a recipe for the kitchen.
This is one of my favorite dishes that my mom makes, and admittedly she hasn’t made it for a long time. I think I may have to find an excuse to make it – I have one! So that I can come back and add pictures to this post later. Enjoy!
Serves 6 to 8
The dish needs to be refrigerated at least 8 hours to attain the correct texture. Do not refrigerate for longer than 24 hours, or the bread will disintegrate. Assemble the topping just before baking. Walnuts can be substituted for the pecans.
1 (16-ounce) loaf French bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
8 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
2 cups half-and-half
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/3 cups packed (9 1/3 ounces) light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Arrange the bread in a single layer on two baking sheets. Bake until dry and light golden brown, about 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
2. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish (or shallow casserole dish of similar size) with the butter. Layer the dried bread tightly in the prepared dish (you should have two layers).
3. Whisk the eggs, milk, half-and-half, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Pour evenly over the bread and press lightly to submerge. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
4. For the topping: When ready to bake, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar together in a medium bowl with a rubber spatula until smooth and incorporated. Stir in the pecans.
5. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Spoon the topping over the casserole, then spread it into an even layer using the rubber spatula. Place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until puffed and golden, about 60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
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