Baking Breakfast

I got a beautiful loaf of brioche the other day and was contemplating how best to showcase this rich, decadent bread. My thoughts ran to breakfast immediately, but after having had a really busy week, I didn't relish the idea of an early morning of meal prep and busy work in the kitchen. So I decided to use it for breakfast anyway.

If that sounds confusing, you haven't been following my favorite method for getting breakfast on the table on the weekend: the make ahead plan. Whether it's a bread pudding or strata, a layered breakfast casserole, or - like this - a pretty baked French toast dish, assembling a dish the night before and letting it rest in the refrigerator until morning means all you need to do in the morning is preheat the oven and bake your dish. Then I usually clean some fresh fruit to have with or on the French toast while my husband makes the coffee. That's it. It's my kind of breakfast.

If you must have something else with this dish, a side of sausage or bacon does nicely, but I really tend to let the pretty organization of this dish take center stage. On a plate, I might add some fresh berries and maple syrup, but that's about it. Good morning!

Almond Baked French Toast

  • 1 loaf brioche, sliced
  • 5 eggs
  • ⅔ c. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ⅓ c. brown sugar
  • 1 T. ground cinnamon
  • ½ c. sliced almonds

Slice each of the slices of brioche diagonally and arrange them in a 9x13-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray so that each alternating half slice of bread touches the opposite side of the baking dish. The loaf should more or less fill the baking dish when arranged in this manner. Set aside

Combine the eggs, heavy cream, and vanilla extract in a resealable quart jar. Seal the jar and shake vigorously to form a thick custard, making sure no separated egg whites and yolks remain. Pour the custard evenly over the top of the brioche in the baking dish.

Combine the brown sugar and ground cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the brioche. Scatter the sliced almonds evenly over the sugar mixture. Cover the baking dish and store in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350° F. When the oven is ready, uncover the baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the egg is set and the top of the toast is golden. Serve hot with fresh fruit and maple syrup.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour plus overnight refrigeration

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