I don't know about you but I love breakfast and brunch, anything that is associated with breakfast foods I am all over it! Every month we eat breakfast for dinner a few times, not only is it an easy meal to throw together, but also sometimes I really don't feel like a big heavy meal at the end of the day.
I was trying to think about what to do with the 8 dozen eggs I have... 8 dozen... my husband went away on a bachelor party weekend and they bought a bunch of food for a big breakfast they never ate. I had already bought my eggs from Costco earlier that week so when he came home with that flat of 2 1/2 dozen eggs, I thought "Oh man I can't eat this many eggs". So I gave it some thought and decided to make a French toast bake. I was going to just make regular French toast but decided on this.
One thing that came to light after making this is, apparently my husband does not like pecans. I know he doesn't like nuts in general but I thought pecans were the ones he didn't mind, I guess I was wrong, but the amazing husband he is he ate it and has eaten everything I have made in the last almost 7 years with pecans in it. See you can know someone super well and think you know everything about them and then bam! You learn something new, I guess that keeps things fresh and exciting. He said it still tasted great he just doesn't like pecans, now I know where my daughter gets it from.
This was a great dish, easy to make, and tasted yummy. You can make it the night before if you are going to serve it for breakfast or brunch. If you do that, make sure your bread is pretty stale so that it soaks up the eggs and milk and won't be too soggy. I decided to just slightly dry out my fresh French bread in the oven on 175F for 1 hour. It worked and allowed it to not be too dry or too fresh.
Pecan French Toast Bake
1 large loaf of French bread
8 large eggs
1 can of evaporated milk
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
a pinch of salt
For the topping:
3/4 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 cup of pecans
Cut your loaf of French bread into 1 inch cubes, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and allow them to sit on the counter top for up to 4 hours to get slightly stale. Or place in the oven at 175F for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients minus the bread and topping ingredients. Whisk together so there are no clumps of eggs. Almost the same consistency as if you were making scrambled eggs.
In a large casserole dish place the bread cubes in it, then pour over the egg and milk mixture. With a spatula mix the bread cubes so that they are evenly coated with the egg mixture and starting to soak it up. Let it sit for 30 minutes, to allow the bread to soak up the mixture even more.
In a small bowl add all the ingredients for the topping and then spread it all over the top of the egg and milk soaked bread. I like a nice thick layer of the topping to add some texture and crunch. You can always add less.
Place in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until the center has puffed up a bit and the eggs look cooked. You don't want want it to get too crunchy on the edges but you need to make sure it is cooked in the center. I had to stab it with a knife to release some air in the center because it puffed up so big.
When done remove from the oven, drizzle your slice with maple syrup and serve with some whipped cream and even fruit, bananas would taste great with this French toast bake.
I am excited to eat some of the leftovers (which isn't a whole lot) for lunch today! That extra crunch the pecans give just adds that little bit of texture needed when a dish has softer ingredients in it.
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