If you've got some sibling rivalry going with your brothers and/or sisters and are vying for the spot of "Mom's favorite child," you've got it in the bag this Mother's Day. Just make her this Praline Baked French Toast with Macerated Strawberries on Sunday and you will be anointed favorite child.
Thick slices of rich challah bread are layered into a casserole dish, soaked overnight in a custard, then spread with a butter, sugar, pecan mixture, and baked into a buttery, bubbly oblivion. After one taste of this french toast topped with a dusting of powdered sugar and a scoop of macerated strawberries, your mom will want to smack her grandma. Yes, it's that good.
I brought a pan of these into the office today and it was demolished. I'm sure CL's insurance premiums just went up ... the french toast has a cup of butter and a cup of brown sugar. I won't lie.
Despite that tidbit of information, I say you make it anyway. It's truly awesome. You won't have to wake up early on Sunday to put this together because it's all done the day before. On Mother's Day, you just have to pop it into the oven. Piece of cake... I mean toast.
Praline Baked French Toast with Macerated Strawberries
1 loaf Challah bread
6 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Slice challah bread into slices, each 1-inch thick, then cut each slice in half down the middle. Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a whisk until blended. 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. (If you want, check on the bread sometime during the night and tilt the pan around to distribute the custard some more.) Make Praline Topping and Macerated Strawberries, and store in fridge until ready to bake.
The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and let the Praline Topping come to room temperature. Spread Praline Topping evenly over bread slices. Bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. To plate, sprinkle powdered sugar over a big wedge of french toast, top with a scoop of strawberries.
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mash it together with a fork to blend well.
1 pound fresh strawberries, cut into quarters
2 tablespoons of sugar
Mix strawberries and sugar together in a bowl. Let sit in refrigerator overnight. (Macerating the strawberries draws the juice out of the fruit.)
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