We are big breakfast people on the weekends. And I mean these words literally, because the kids have always called it “big breakfast.” In better financial times, going out to breakfast was a special treat every couple of months, but lately getting the kids out of bed when Mom and Dad are up and hungry before 11 a.m. (much before! We’re usually up by 8) is nearly impossible and it just doesn’t make financial sense to pay $3 for a thimble of OJ and $6 for a plate of pancakes.
So, we are firmly an at-home big breakfast family these days. I look forward to it all week. Pancakes, French toast, omelets, waffles, you name it, we like it. If it goes with bacon (nitrate free, I wish I could find organic bacon!) and sausage (organic chicken sausage), we like it. What I don’t always like is having to tumble out of bed and start cooking up a storm whilst in my nightgown, so the idea of something that I could make ahead was appealing (but then I had to get up anyhow and get it in the oven to bake and wait for it to cook, so it wasn’t a perfect solution!). Baked French toast from Martha’s November Living issue was definitely something I had to try.
Beat 6 eggs and add 2 cups milk and 1/3 cup cream with 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp coarse salt and 1 tsp nutmeg (I substituted cinnamon). Dip 10 slices of day old brioche into the batter (I used challah). Place them in a baking dish and then pour remaining batter over the top. The recipe says you should overlap the bread slices over each other. I did this, but then realized half the bread was sitting in the batter while the other half was sitting up in the air, drying out, so I switched over to a baking sheet where I could lay them all flat. Refrigerate covered for at least 2 hours – mine went in overnight. Preheat oven to 375. Top with 1 cup chopped pecans (I would have liked to add this, but there are family members who would not eat it if I did, so I skipped it) and sprinkle with 3 tbsp sugar. Bake covered, for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden about 20-25 minutes. Serve with maple syrup.
This was good, but I think I like regular French toast better. It was a tad too eggy for me. I like my French toast just a bit drier (and I also usually use cinnamon bread for it and that really makes it very tasty). This is definitely a nice idea if you are feeding a crowd, although I think you’d better make a double batch because this recipe fed the 4 of us with only 1 slice left over!
Do you have a favorite “big breakfast?”