I’ve had several requests for this recipe this week, so here she is:
Alcove Baked French Toast
1 loaf French bread – baguette (13 to 16 ounces)
12 large egg yolks (retain whites for another use)
2 cups half-and-half or cream
1 cup milk or cream
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 1/4″ slices. Stand slices up in individual baking dishes, or arrange them in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices.
In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg 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. (At the Alcove we keep this custard mix in a squeeze bottle so we can assemble the servings when we need them — being careful to squirt it between the slices of bread, and then over the top of everything). Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight (we don’t do this at the Alcove for safety reasons — we bake immediately).
The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (We do ours at 450 degrees. And we microwave for about 45 seconds to make sure we have a warm custard before we bake — again, for food safety reasons).
Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup. (We put the praline on at the end, sometimes for the last 30 seconds of baking, sometimes not, depending upon how busy we are. Everything goes under the heat lamp, so the praline gets warmed up that way if we’re busy. And we bake for 10 minutes or less — depends upon what else is in the oven at the same time.)
1/8 pound (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Since we put the praline on at the end, we melt the butter, brown sugar, and water in a skillet and cook until the sugar dissolves. Then we add the other ingredients and stir everything until the pecans have a nice carmel color and the water has evaporated. Then we spread the pecans on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let them cool. We store them in a container on a shelf in the kitchen. They keep for about a week.