I was having such a great time thumbing through the pages and landing on recipes like Simmered Sunshine, Mock Guac, Auld Lang Syne Casserole and Three-to-Four-Day-Coconut Cake. I passed on those (temporarily) and came to a screeching halt at French Toast Breakfast Casserole. As in... I-can-have-bread pudding-for-breakfast-and feel-no-guilt? Yes! Ok then, fire up the oven. This little treasure of a cookbook from Hampton, Virginia is called From The Heart and Home of Frolicking Framie, Recipes Handed Down Through Five Generations. Framie is actually Doris Edmonds Childress who got the nickname from her first grandchild trying to say Granny and came up with the word Framie instead. The ladies from Doris' women's club suggested that if there was a Galloping Gourmet on TV, then there should be a Frolicking Framie in Virginia. The cookbook is yet another example of why I adore heritage recipes compiled as spiral-bound labors of love from families, churches, auxiliaries, schools and service groups just to name a few. The fabulous taste for this breakfast casserole comes from the sweet and doughy Challah Bread. If you prefer Brioche bread and you can't find the loaves, about 8 large brioche rolls would probably do the trick. The richness comes, of course, from the eggs and cream. Unlike bread pudding which is often served chilled, you'll want to have the butter ready, get the casserole out of the oven and pour warm maple syrup over a nice big square. Now that this recipe has been tested and definitely approved, it's on to Gugelhupf....Copper Pennies.....Plantation Coffee Punch... and the Simmered Sunshine.
French Toast Breakfast Casserole
- 1 loaf Challah or Brioche bread, sliced ½ to ¾ inches thick
- 8 large eggs
- 2 ½ cups milk
- 2 ½ cups half-and-half
- 3 tablespoons sugar or honey
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Butter for serving
- Pure maple syrup for serving
- Powdered sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish (at least 2 inches high).
- Slice the bread (do not trim crust) and layer one layer of bread in casserole dish.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, half-and-half, sugar or honey, vanilla and salt.
- Pour half of the mixture over the bread.
- Arrange a second layer of bread over the first layer and pour the remainder of egg mixture over top.
- Press down.
- Place the baking dish in a larger roasting pan and pour about 1 inch of hot water into the roasting pan.
- Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil leaving a slight dome over the top of the casserole so when it rises it won't touch the foil.
- Bake for approximately 35 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for another 35-40 minutes.
- Casserole is done when custard is set and knife comes up clean.
- Serve in squares with butter, maple syrup and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.