Yesterday was a lot of fun, but I'm exhausted today! Lots of laughing, lots of playing Wii Sports (I have tennis shoulder this morning), and lots and lots eating food. Ham, turkey, strata, french toast, Irish soda bread, fresh berries, cookies, Easter eggs, cheesecake and sfogliatelle -- all consumed -- plus coffee, tea, sodas, mimosas.
I guess I shouldn't have been suprised, but the runaway hit of the Easter brunch was Paula Dean's Baked French Toast with Praline Topping. It dissapeared in a flash, because it was damned good.
Then again, it's probably hard to make something with half-n-half, brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans and two sticks of butter and have it not turn out delicious.
Baked French Toast with Praline Topping
1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. [I couldn't fit all the bread into a 9x13 pan, so I used a 10-inch pie plate for the extra bread, and split the other ingredients between the two pans accordingly --LR] In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread Praline Topping (see ingredients, below) evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.