French Toast Casserole

French Toast Casserole

November 28: National French Toast Day

When company comes and stays overnight, we feed them French toast casserole for breakfast or brunch. It is faster to make than traditional French toast because the bread soaks up the batter the night before and is baked in the same pan the next morning, leaving us time to talk with guests or make extra bacon and eggs for everyone while the casserole is cooking in the oven. It also feeds a a crowd of visitors and is considered more budget-friendly than taking everyone out to eat. For a twist on traditional French toast, cook it casserole-style for National French Toast Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Taste of Home)

For the French toast

  • 1 loaf (1 pound) French bread
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions

Generously grease a 13×9-inch baking pan with butter or cooking spray. Cut the French bread into 1-inch cubes. Scatter evenly in the pan.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Mix in the milk, sugar, salt and vanilla.

French Toast Casserole

Pour over the cubed bread, allowing the pieces to soak up the milk batter. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, 30 minutes before baking, remove from the refrigerator.

French Toast Casserole

Cut the cold butter in small pieces and place them on top of the French toast. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and ground cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the French toast. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes. The casserole will puff up slightly. When done, remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes. Slice and serve with syrup.

French Toast Casserole

Notes

Pain Perdu (French Toast)

Pain Perdu French Toast 

June 13: Feast Day of St. Anthony of Padua

Islander is not really sure how St. Anthony of Padua became her patron saint. She jokes that it is probably because she lost her mind! When traditional Catholics lose something, the Portuguese-born Franciscan saint, patron of lost articles, is often invoked with a simple rhyme:

 “Dear Saint Anthony, please come ‘round.

Something is lost and must be found.”

We found an appropriate dish to prepare on his feast day: pain perdu (“lost bread”). According to Wikipedia, “it is called ‘lost bread’ because it is a way to reclaim stale or ‘lost’  bread. The hard bread is softened by dipping in a mixture of milk and eggs, and then fried. The bread is sliced on a bias and dipped into a mixture of egg, milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. The slices are pan-fried in butter and traditionally served dusted with powdered sugar and jam on the side. Alternatively, it may be served with syrup.”

Pain perdu is associated with St. Anthony and is popularly known as French toast. We eat it for breakfast but the French have it for dessert. Below is a simple recipe for French toast that we have used for many years. Coincidentally, its origins have been lost!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 10-12 slices of stale French bread or baguette, ½ – 1-inch thick
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • dash of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • butter
  • powdered sugar

Directions

In a bowl, combine the milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla until well blended. Dip into this mixture the slices of bread on both sides.

Pain Perdu French Toast

In a skillet, melt two tablespoons of butter, adding more tablespoons if necessary. Fry the bread on both sides until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels. Transfer to a plate. Dust with powdered sugar.  Serve with jam or syrup.

Pain Perdu French Toast

Notes

  • Waste not! Like pain perdu, capirotada (Mexican Lent bread pudding) is another delicious recipe for using up leftover bread.