With the weather finally moving in the right direction, we are now in catch-up mode. It’s time to catch up with our spring wardrobe, planting our gardens and our al fresco entertaining. Brunch continues to be one of my favorite ways to gather friends. Not only do I adore most brunch food, it tends to be an easy way to entertain–no competition for weekend nights or soccer games. As much as I like the idea of a hearty egg casserole, it’s kind of nice to serve something different. The recipe for today has lots of advantages–it is relatively inexpensive, can be made the night before and serves a large crowd, hassle free.
The real secret of this lovely recipe is that it looks like you slaved away. While you sip on a chilled mimosa, your French toast is nicely baking in the oven.
We teamed up with our ace photographer, Ashley Hylbert and the equally talented and lovely Mary Carter, one of Nashville’s most accomplished food stylists. Together, they created the vision of this perfect French toast.
My role? Pretty simple. I was a taste tester. Once again, this was unanimously a favorite of the cooking committee.
- ½ ( 8 oz) package cream cheese softened
- ½ cup sifted powder sugar
- 1 (16 oz) loaf of unsliced French bread
- 8 eggs, lightly beaten
- ¾ cup half-and-half
- 1 t. vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Maple-Praline Sauce
- 1 stick of butter
- ½ packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 c. pecans
- Combine cream cheese and powdered sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
- Cut bread into 1 inch thick slices to yield 20 slices.
- Spread cream cheese mixture onto top of 10 slices.
- Top with remaining bread slices to create a sandwich.
- Combine eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, cinnamon in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
- Add bread sandwiches, turning several times to coat.
- Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
- When ready to bake, remove bread sandwiches from dish, discarding any excess liquid. Place bread on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with the maple-praline sauce.
- Maple Praline Sauce
- Combine butter, brown sugar, syrup and pecans in a small saucepan.
- Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often until well blended.
- Makes 1¾ cups sauce
A huge thank you to Ashley Hylbert Photography and Mary Carter, food stylist. Click here to see more of Ashley’s work.
Also, Thanks to Obelisk for supplying the table setting for today’s post. For more information click here: