It's raining here in normally sunny southwest Florida so immediately thoughts go to - what can we make to eat??? Maybe it's good for our health (I don't even know if I believe that honestly...) but hot weather and comfort food don't exactly go together. So when we do get a cool (OK, low 80's - but that's cool!) rainy day, it's time to hang out inside, sort through the pantry and cook up some comfort. My recently published breakfast book, French Toast, Waffles and Pancakes: Comfort Food for Leisurely Mornings is #1 on Amazon in the Breakfast category - thanks to all of you! For those of you who haven't picked up a copy, here is recipe to give you a little taste of what you're missing.
Praline French Toast
Preparing everything the night before makes for an easy morning and a dish that will wow your guests.
1 cup half and half
6 large eggs
2 tbsps. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
6 (1"-thick) slices brioche loaf, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 tbsps. unsalted butter
2 tsps. orange zest
2 tbsps. Grand Marnier (optional)
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely and lightly toasted
In a medium bowl, whisk together the half and half, eggs, vanilla and nutmeg. Add the brioche bread cubes and stir to evenly coat and soak them with the mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 6 individual ramekins and set them onto a baking sheet (or use an 8" x 8" baking dish).
Combine the brown sugar, maple syrup and heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, orange zest, Grand Marnier (if using) and pecans.
Lightly grease the ramekins (or use an 8" x 8" baking dish). Pour the syrup mixture into the bottom of the prepared ramekins. Arrange the soaked bread evenly over top. Cover the ramekins with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10–15 minutes more, until tops are golden and bread is cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Carefully invert the ramekins onto individual dishes and serve warm.