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Baked French toast

October 24, 2007

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Serves 6

Instead of apples, you can make this with Bartlett or Anjou pears. Peel and halve them, cut out the cores, and chop them coarsely.

FRENCH TOAST

Butter (for the dish)
3 cups whole milk
6 eggs, beaten to mix
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12 slices white sandwich bread

1. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, butter, vanilla, and salt.

3. In another small bowl, combine the granulated and brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

4. Using 6 slices of the bread, dip both sides into the egg mixture and arrange in a layer on the bottom of the baking dish (you will need to overlap them slightly to fit them in). Sprinkle with half of the sugar mixture. Dip the remaining 6 slices into the egg mixture and set them on the first layer. Pour any egg mixture in the bowl over the bread. With a wide metal spatula, press down firmly so the bread soaks up all of the liquid.

5. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. (Make the apple compote while the dish chills.)

6. Let the dish sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

7. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Bake the dish for 20 to 25 minutes until the bread is puffed, golden brown, and a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.

COMPOTE

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoon maple syrup
4 baking apples (Baldwin, Golden Delicious, Ida Red, Northern Spy, Rome, Gravenstein) peeled, halved, cored, and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup raisins (optional)

1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Stir well to combine them. Add the apples and raisins, if using, cover the pan, and turn the heat to medium-high.

2. When the mixture begins to bubble, remove the lid, stir, and turn the heat to low. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the apples are soft. Spoon over the baked French toast. Christine Merlo

Notes: