Recipe for Mother’s Day: French Toast Casserole (plus drink)

There are two camps of Mother’s Day celebrants: those who love nothing more than a lavish brunch/lunch/dinner at a restaurant, and those who hope for an intimate celebration enjoyed wearing a pair of fuzzy slippers.

I wouldn’t be sad with either option, but if I woke up to the smell of a pan of French toast (made by any member of my family except me) baking in the oven, I would really be a happy mom.

This French Toast Casserole is basically a stratum, which is a layered dish of eggs, milk, and bread, plus whatever you flavor.

Stratas can be sweet, enhanced with chopped dried fruit, nuts, chocolate or alcohol, or savory, topped with cheese, ham, etc.

The Orange Champagne Mule. (Photo: Cheyenne M Cohen via AP)

This one is sweeter and so much easier to make for a group than individual slices of French toast.

It’s a great brunch for a lazy weekend morning because all the work (and there isn’t much of it) is done the night before.

In the morning, simply transfer the dish from the fridge to the oven and chop some fresh fruit, or do whatever you want while a hearty, luxurious breakfast prepares.

This is the ultimate make-ahead dish, which actually needs to be made at least 8 hours ahead of time, so the bread has time to soak up all the sweet and tangy batter.

You can also cook it the night before, then refrigerate the cooked casserole and reheat it in the morning.

However, reheating the cooked casserole will take about 20-25 minutes; cooking the whole thing only takes about half an hour, so you don’t save a lot of time.

Still, it’s good to know that leftovers reheat well in the microwave or oven.

And children, even the little ones, can help! They can put together just about any casserole, although an adult should decide if they’re old enough to help slice the bread.

Children can also pick and choose the dried fruits or nuts they would like to put in the casserole.

Try using slightly stale challah bread, which, because it’s dry, will absorb the milk and egg custard better.

If your bread is fresh, slice it and let it sit for a few hours to dry out slightly, or even lightly toast it in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about five minutes.

Add a drink?

If you’re going for the gourmet vibe of Mother’s Day brunch, why not add a cocktail to the mix? A “mule” of orange champagne does the trick.

Simply combine the juice of one orange and one lime with 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of chilled vodka and 4 ounces (½ cup) of chilled ginger beer in a small pitcher or measuring cup. Divide the liquid between two glasses of champagne. Top each with about 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of chilled champagne, prosecco or other sparkling wine. Garnish with orange slices and sprigs of fresh mint and serve chilled.

Hello and congratulations to all the moms out there! (And to me: Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!)

French Toast Casserole for Mother’s Day

For 8 people

Ingredients

Butter or non-stick spray, to grease the baking dish

4 cups milk, preferably whole or 2%

6 large eggs

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup raisins, chopped dried fruit or chopped nuts (optional)

1 large challah bread, preferably 1 or 2 days old, sliced ​​¾ to 1 inch thick

Method

To serve:

Maple syrup; fresh fruit such as berries or sliced ​​peaches or pears; and/or icing sugar

1 Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or spray with cooking spray.

2 In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Stir in fruit or nuts, if desired.

3 Arrange half of the loaf in a single layer in the pan, cutting the loaf to form a solid layer. Pour half of the milk mixture over the bread, making sure to evenly distribute at least half of the fruit or nuts you’ve added.

4 Repeat, creating a second layer of bread, then pouring in the rest of the milk mixture, again evenly distributing the fruit or nuts. Lightly press the bread into the liquid.

5 Cover the mold with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The bread will absorb most of the milk mixture. Uncover the baking dish and if there are any drier bits on top, place them carefully under the bread at the bottom, so that the more soaked bits are now on top (a little messy, but everything works in baking). Note that any dried fruit placed on top of the pan will get quite chewy and fruit that is slid into the pan will be softer, so scatter the fruit as you see fit.

6 Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Bake French toast, uncovered, until puffed and golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Leave for 5 minutes to firm up a bit. Cut into squares and serve with your choice of maple syrup, fresh fruit and/or icing sugar.

ByKatie Worker

Michael M. Tomlin