Just finished a great visit with my sister Jo, brother-in-law Ed, and niece Jenna. Love having them here, not just because they do all my work and I just sit around and eat ice cream, but because I like to be with them. Maybe it’s like this in your family, too: when we get together we eat and talk and laugh and talk and eat and laugh and talk and laugh and drink. We have a lot of fun, and even though I want to nap for four days afterward, I always feel renewed after spending time with my sister.
Ed’s a good guy, too, and acts like he’s coming out here to vacation; however, he’s one of those added-value brothers-in-law who can’t just sit but rather has to be doing something. He stashes work clothes in the car “in case” I need help moving in (yes), a ceiling ripped out, insulated and reinstalled (yes), a wall put up (yes), desk built (yes), walls painted (yes), all the flower beds cleaned out (yes), doorbell installed (yes), cable buried (yes), pool shark fixed (yes), someone to buy dinner (YES), or whatever (yes, yes). And he’s pretty good at chatting up the guests.
I can’t really let Ed know he does good work or there will be no living with him even for the short time they’re visiting. I just tell him he has to earn his keep because after all, I’m only charging him half price for the room haha and his breakfast is free harhar.
While they were here, one of the breakfast menu items Jo and I made was baked French Toast. We both like to mess around in the kitchen and it’s extra fun to cook with someone. My sister is always ready to step in and help me any way she can, even long distance. When Jo read my blog about my approaching 60 looking like a Monkee, she called me and admitted that just that morning she discovered she resembled Rod Blagojevich. (Look that one up and you’ll understand how I got the better end of the deal being Mike Nesmith’s twin.)
Anyway, this is a fabulous recipe that you can put together the night before while you’re talking with your sister until all hours and can pop into the oven the next morning. It bakes up all almost like a bread pudding and is buttery and sweet and delicious and will make you want to lick the plate. I found it on The Pioneer Woman website and made a few minor adjustments. Don’t be afraid to do that!
BAKED FRENCH TOAST
- 1 loaf of crusty Italian, French, or sourdough bread
- 8 eggs
- 2 c. whole milk
- 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 2 T vanilla extract
Butter a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Cut the bread into cubes or tear into chunks, then spread it all out in the pan. I like to cut off the ends and eat them with a little olive oil and cracked pepper accompanied with a glass of wine, so they never actually make it into the dish. No worries. It’s a big loaf of bread. Also, I prefer the Italian bread over French because it’s denser and works well with the amount of liquid in the recipe. I think an egg bread or challah would also be delicious.
In a large bowl whisk all the other ingredients together and pour evenly over the bread. Cover it tightly and stick it in the fridge overnight, or at least several hours. Make the topping.
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1 t. salt
- pinch of nutmeg, optional
- 1 stick of cold butter, cut into pieces
Mix the first five ingredients together in a bowl. Add the butter and cut into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Store it in the fridge in a baggie or covered bowl.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Trot over to the fridge and get the casserole and topping and sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top. If you want to use fruit, put that on before you put on the topping. Bake uncovered about 40-45 minutes for the bread pudding consistency, 60 minutes if you like it a little firmer. I go 40 minutes because I hold this in the oven at 200 F (covered) throughout breakfast and it stays nice and moist.
To plate, I cut it into eight pieces (which are large portions), top each with a little maple syrup and serve it up with scrambled eggs and sausage.
I know school’s just around the corner – Jo goes back to teaching August 10 (gack!) and just like everyone else, you get extra busy and some of those little niceties that you once had time for fall by the wayside. This French Toast dish would make a great surprise for the kids some morning, and you don’t have to knock yourself out at the crack of dawn to prepare it.
Even with fall lurking in the wings, there’s still a lot of summer and beautiful weather to revel in. Come out and enjoy a final fling – sit on the balcony, sun yourself at the pool, visit the shops, and in the morning I’ll be happy to make baked French Toast for you!