Saturday, May 30, 2009

Baked French Toast with Pralines

I've been delaying my postings for far too long. I originally baked this breakfast over 6 weeks ago, but haven't gotten around to posting until now. My brother and sister-in-law don't live too far away from me, and I made this the week that my niece was born. I knew it'd be a struggle for them to find time to bake or cook with a newborn on their hands, so I asked my sister-in-law what her favorite breakfast was, and ended up making this baked french toast.

This recipe is based off Paula Deen's Baked French Toast, and is an easy way to make a large batch of french toast at once, covered with a sweet praline topping.

French Toast:
Dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup whole milk
8 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups half and half
1 loaf (16 oz.) sourdough, cut into 1-inch slices

Stale bread soaks up the liquid better, so if time permits, let the slices sit out overnight covered with a tea towel. Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish, and place the sourdough slices into the dish, making sure slices don't overlap. Into a large bowl add the salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, milk, half and half, and eggs, then mix until combined. Pour over the sourdough slices and cover with foil. Refrigerate at least 8 hours. Remove from refrigerator to warm to room temperature, preheat oven to 350ºF. Spread praline topping over bread. Bake, still covered with foil, for 45 minutes.

2 lbs. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup pecans
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine all ingredients until a homogenous paste forms, then spread over the french toast before baking.

As you can see, this is fairly easy to put together, especially if you know that you're going to bake it ahead of time. This is one of those dishes that could be a treat for a holiday morning, or just a really good weekend breakfast. Scoop some ice cream on top, and you might just have dessert too.

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