Saturday, June 25, 2011

overnight french toast

I love French toast. I think it's amazing. I've always done it the standard way - one or two slices at a time in a sizzling, buttered pan. Once I saw Maggie's post on A Bitchin' Kitchen for this amazing deconstructed French toast bake, I immediately began waiting for the weekend in anticipation of making what, in my opinion, looked like a freaking masterpiece. The original idea for this (to my knowledge, anyways) comes from Ree, otherwise known as The Pioneer Woman.

Imagine my horror when, after bracing myself to endure the hideous weather conditions in Montreal yesterday, I found that my local grocery store was shut for the holiday (because only I deserve a long weekend, obviously!) In any case, refusing to be defeated, I found a market open on Mont Royal and was able to gather the supplies needed. And thank god I did too, because a masterpiece it was!

This meal was perfection. Absolute perfection. It was soft, moist and eggy in the middle with a delicious cinnamon sugar crust borne from lots and lots of butter. My brain is shorting out just thinking about it. I adapted the original recipe quite a bit and played with the proportions. The amount of milk made me a bit nervous due to a mishap I once had with an extremely soggy French toast recipe. Also, as usual, I cut the sugar considerably. It was the perfect sweetness for Adam and I. Seriously, nobody will miss the extra half cup of sugar.

Make this for company, unless you are comfortable gaining ten pounds over one weekend. Whoops.

overnight french toast
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

8 cups of day old white bread, preferably crusty French loaf, torn into bite sized pieces
6 eggs
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract


1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and in pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Grease a 9x9 glass baking dish with butter and fill it with the bread pieces.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, milk, sugar and vanilla. Pour over bread and toss to ensure even coverage. Cover with tinfoil or plastic wrap, then chill overnight.  I tend to give it one more toss before going to bed, it helps to keep the bread on the top from drying out.

You can either make the topping the same night or the next morning. To make it, combine sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender until the texture is similar to dry oatmeal. If making it the night before, store it in the fridge in a ziploc bag until ready for use.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Pull out your baking dish and give the bread one last toss before sprinkling the topping over it. Bake for 45 minutes. Your French toast will have puffed up beautifully and should have a lovely brown buttery crust!

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