The daffodils are busting out all over. Have you noticed the big clumps in people’s yards as you go to and from town?   Notice how the “Easter lilies,” we always referred to them, are blooming right on time. It’s amazing how they know exactly when to be “right on time” for Easter. A true resurrection, indeed. 

This year, we are doing a brunch carry-in for our family’s Easter celebration. It’s our newfound way of celebrating. I shared the details in Seasons Magazine recently.  Everyone will bring a breakfast casserole or side.   Because I love French Toast, I’m carrying in this dish, and I’m sharing the recipe below.  

I first had this dish served to us in Brown County, Indiana, at a Bed and Breakfast.   It was so delicious, and I marveled how I had never had it served as a casserole before.  I must say, the nut topping—is to die for! Served with real maple syrup—yummy.  Real whipped cream—oh my gosh, heaven.  

 I remember the Innkeeper told us, “It’s very easy to assemble the night before then refrigerate and bake the next day.” It sure beats her standing at the griddle doing French Toast slice by slice for a big breakfast or brunch crowd.  I’m going to make 2 pans, as each one serves 9-12 people. 

 If you don’t like nuts, don’t do the Praline topping. You can dust it with confectioners’ sugar. Or serve with a dollop of butter with maple syrup, or blueberry syrup, or whipped cream, and so on—many choices.  Any way you serve it, it will be delicious.

I like it best when served with sausage links! I think it’s because we had sausage patties as a kid, but when we were eating out, we were given a choice; the waitress would ask, “Would you like patties or links?”  I always replied, “Sausage links, please.”  So, you see my reasoning for loving links?   Sausage links make it extra special for me.  

I hope you have a marvelous Easter celebration and soon have a bruncheon carry in to celebrate. Try this dish in your kitchen soon.   Enjoy. 

Oven-Baked French Toast Casserole 

6 large eggs

2 cups half-and-half

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg (optional) 

1 pinch salt

1 loaf French bread slices (white bread can be substituted) 

Praline Topping

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 teaspoons light corn syrup

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

Direction

1.     Generously butter a 9X13-inch baking dish

2.     Whisk eggs, half-and-half, milk, white sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl. 

3.     Dip each slice of bread in egg mixture and place in a pan. Pour egg mixture over the bread, making sure all is coated. 

4.     Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. 

Next Day

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees 

2.     Mix all ingredients for the praline topping in a bowl. Spread over bread. 

3.     Bake covered 25 minutes, then uncover for the remaining 20 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown, about 45 minutes total. 

4.     Dust with confectioners’ sugar or drizzle with maple syrup, heavy cream, or whipped cream. 

* White bread slices or cubed white bread can be substituted for the French bread if desired.

Martha’s Homemade Raisin Rum Maple Syrup

This is one of Martha Stewart’s creations.  

Perfect for the French Toast Casserole. Tasty!

Ingredients

¾ cup raisins

¾ cup pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons rum

Instructions

Bring raisins, syrup, and rum to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from heat. Let stand until raisins are plump, about 15 minutes.

Sherry is a regular contributor to The Press. She shares her farmhouse memories and recipes from her farm Cherry Ridge,  sprinkled with peace, love, and joy and  on her blog at sherryphillipsmitchell.com. Her book My Farmhouse Journal: Memories and Recipes are available on Amazon. 

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