Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Paula Deen’s French Toast Casserole with Praline Topping

When most people think of Paula Deen they think of butter. Lots and lots of butter. That comes to my mind, but not first. The first thing I think of is beans. In college, my roommate and I were watching some of our beloved Paula and she was using beans in a recipe and exclaimed, “I’m Paula Deen the bean queen!” We said that to each other for many years to come, and it will still come up every so often. But my mind always thinks of the Bean Queen when I hear Paula’s name, and then I think about butter. 

Before we went and saw Breaking Dawn, we had breakfast together. My mom makes a great French toast casserole, and as I was looking online for variations I came across this recipe. I first saw the title, and thought it sounded great. Then I saw it was a Paula recipe, and that sealed the deal

It is actually a fairly simple recipe, but you do have to prep it the night before. And be warned, it takes awhile to cook. I got excited and took it out of the oven too soon. The sides were amazing, and the middle was a mush pile, but a little longer in the oven would cure that. It is a yummy, indulgent Paula recipe, complete with lots of butter and cream! On the recipe page there is a video of Paula making it, and in it she says “This is too good to be true. Pralines and bread in one dish, I can't hardly stand it!” I’d have to agree Paula.

1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

I wasn’t just excited for this recipe, I was also super excited to get out and use this awesome baking dish that my mom made for me for my bridal shower! I love it and think I may need to have all of my glass dishes with etched designs. Think of which I did just get a new set of Pyrex…

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