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Hair-of-the-Dog French Toast

January 2, 2009

frenchtoast0_010109I’ll get right to the point: this is a brilliant French toast recipe. In the grand scheme of breakfast foods, French toast is a p-i-t-a to prepare for a crowd. Ashame, too, because it’s so darn delectable – everyone should have French toast from scratch and have it often.

The brilliance behind this recipe is the prepare-ahead step: The French toast will be baked in the oven, not griddled painstakingly one slice at a time while everyone stands there, toes tapping, holding out their plates like Oliver Twist as you dunk and turn and dip again then slap and flip and flip again. No, the bread – all of the bread – goes into a baking dish, topped with its yummy custard coating, and tucked into the fridge to do its soaking sponge thing all night long. In the morning, pop it in the oven while you’re still in your jammies, and voila, by the time the rest of the house is up and at ’em, you’ve got breakfast ready.

I’ve seen several recipes for baked french toast (including Paula Deen and her 8-egg version. 8 eggs? I do believe that woman is out to kill us all, one egg or stick of butter at a time), but only one of them dared to suggest the addition of liqueur to the custard. Again, brilliant.

This recipe is so simple, so tabula rasa, that, really, you could do just about anything to it, and it will be fabulous. Powdered sugar and blueberries. Raspberry preserves. Honey.

Serve with mimosas, and you’ll be the hit of the morning. Even in your jammies.

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Hair-of-the-Dog French Toast
  1 loaf Challah or, really, most any other soft bread that’s a little on the sweet side, sliced in 1 inch slices.
  3 cups whole milk
  3   eggs
  3 tablespoons sugar
  1/2 teaspoon table salt
  3-6 tablespoons Your flavorings of choice. I used 3 each of Irish Cream and Grand Marnier. Dark rum would be interesting. Maybe dark rum and Cointreau. Or even just vanilla extract. It’s all good.

Generously grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. You can use butter – I just used canola spray.

Arrange bread in two tightly-packed layers in the pan. Cut one or two slices into small chunks to tuck into any gaps you may have in the layers.

Whisk milk, eggs, sugar, salt and booze or flavorings of your choice. Pour carefully over the bread, soaking the top layer and making sure plenty pools all around and within the bottom layer.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Or maybe some nutmeg. Whatever sounds good to you. (I did cinnamon, which is sort of visible in the picture at the top of the page.

Wrap tightly with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate overnight. The bread will absorb all of the luscious milk custard while you sleep.

Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden.

Top with confectioner’s sugar and cut into squares. Serve with warm maple syrup or top with fruit preserves.


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