I needed to find a baked pastry or casserole to serve along with an egg dish (Baked Italian Fritatta – post from May 10, 2010). I wanted something I could make the night before and just stick in the oven the next morning.
I found a recipe called Baked French Toast Casserole from Paula Deen that sounded delicious. I know … if you’re like me you are thinking how can anyone cook with so much butter and cream!?! I read through some of the 1400 reviews and found that many people had cut back on the butter. I decided to give it a try — and made a number of modifications on the recipe the first try.
My friends from bible study were the guinea pigs … and we all loved it. It’s rich, but really good. And, it’s very easy to make.
Baked Praline French Toast
1 16 oz. loaf Challah Bread (I used 1 and 1/2 loaves of Trader Joe’s Challah bread. French bread can also be used. It’s best to use bread a day or two old.)
7 Large Eggs
2 cups Half and Half
1 cup Milk (whole preferred)
2 Tbs. Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
Dash of Salt
Praline Topping (see below)
1. In a large bowl, combine eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Beat with a rotary beater or whisk until well blended, but not too bubbly.
2. Use butter or cooking spray to heavily coat a 9X13 inch baking pan. (I prefer using a glass baking dish, to watch for doneness while baking.)
3. Slice the bread into about 20 slices (3/4″ thick). Dip each slice into the egg mixture, then arrange slices in baking dish, creating two rows and overlapping slices. When all slices have been placed into baking dish, pour remaining egg liquid over the bread, spooning mixture between slices to cover all bread. Cover with foil and refrigerate over night.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the praline topping ingredients in a bowl and blend well. Spread praline topping over bread. Bake 40 to 50 minutes until puffed and lightly golden brown. (Do not cover the french toast while baking. It may puff up quite a bit near the end of baking time, but it will fall as it cools. (I line the bottom of my oven with foil when I bake this. It has bubbled over several times.)
5. Serve with maple syrup.
1 1/3 sticks of butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed Brown Sugar
1 cup chopped Pecans
2 Tbs. Light Corn Syrup
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
NOTE: When I made the french toast, I had purchased the Challah bread that same day. Since the bread was really fresh, I sliced the bread and laid it out on a cooling rack for a couple of hours. Then I went ahead and followed the recipe and dipped the bread in the egg mixture. I think this helps the bread soak up more egg mixture.