Our day started a dawn. The Covers invited us to a sunrise church service to celebrate Easter. Perched high above Piazza Del Popolo, we were treated to a morning full of gorgeous views, hymns and a lovely little service.
Then it was back to our place for breakfast. Knowing we’d be gone first thing in the morning, I tried a new recipe for a baked french toast. The dish calls for a large loaf of bread to be sliced and soaked overnight in a custard of eggs, cream, milk and little vanilla. Just pop it in the oven in the morning and 40 minutes later…breakfast!
I’d been eyeing the special occasion breads I’d seen in bakeries all over town for the last few weeks and thought, this is the perfect chance to try it.
It turned out pretty well. I’d make it again but adjust the custard to bread ratio: more custard, less bread.
I also tried a caramel/baked apple side sauce instead of the praline topping suggested in the recipe since our breakfast guests included little tykes and I wasn’t sure if they ate nuts. This wasn’t a recipe as much as an experiment. I’d try it again but also make some changes here.
The apples would be better slowly sauteed in a sauce pan with a little juice plus apple pie spices–cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg–for about an hour, like a faster version of apple butter. And home made caramel doesn’t really work for this recipe unless you make it in the pan that you’re cooking the french toast in, layering the bread and custard on top. That way it melts all throughout the dish instead of hardening as it cools–though this is only effective if you’re prepping and baking in the same day.
So, the verdict is this: baked french toast is a great make-ahead dish, especially served with apple butter. Easter 2010 here we come!