French Toast Casserole

French Toast Casserole 

If you've got a crew to feed for breakfast, making French toast can take up most of the morning.

To the rescue comes French Toast Casserole. All the goodness of French toast without having to stand over a griddle on the stove.

This recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen's “The Complete Make-Ahead Cookbook.”

And, take the "Make-Ahead" part to heart since it needs to be refrigerated for at least eight hours to achieve the desired consistency.

The editors advise using toasted French and Italian loaves, which have a dense texture and thin crust. 

The topping combines brown sugar and butter with pecans and a dash of corn syrup, which keeps the sugar and butter from separating during baking. You can make the topping ahead and store it separately in the fridge or make it before popping the casserole into the oven.

The recipe does not work as well with low-fat or skim milk. 

French Toast Casserole

Makes 6-8 servings. Recipe is from "The Complete Make-Ahead Cookbook" by America's Test Kitchen.

1 pound French or Italian bread, torn into 1-inch pieces 

8 large eggs

2½ cups whole milk

1½ cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Where To Go, What To Eat

Each week we'll highlights the best eats and events in metro Baton Rouge. Sign up today.

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1⅓ cups packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 cups pecans, chopped coarsely

1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 F. Spread bread out over two rimmed baking sheets and bake until dry and light golden, about 25 minutes, turning and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let bread cool completely.

2. Grease a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish, then pack dried bread into dish. Whisk eggs, milk, cream, granulated sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg together in bowl. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread and press on bread lightly to submerge.

3. Wrap dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

4. Stir butter, brown sugar and corn syrup together in bowl until smooth, then stir in pecans.

5. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 F. Unwrap casserole and sprinkle evenly with topping, breaking apart any large clumps. Place casserole on rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips and bake until puffed and golden, about 50 minutes.

6. Let casserole cool for 10 minutes before serving.