10.5.09

Mother's Day!

So, today is Mother's Day and I decided that I would rouse myself early and make my mother brunch instead of going nuts about booking a reservation at a restaurant.

Like with most brunches, I like to combine sweet and savory dishes because it's not technically breakfast (sweet) or lunch (savory), so why not have both together? My menu was:

Eat
Scrambled Eggs with Sun dried Tomatoes
Chicken Sausage
Cherry Tomato and Feta Salad (with walnuts)
Marble Pound Cake with two sauces on the side (chocolate sauce and strawberry sauce)
Crudites with a Greek Yogurt dip
French Toast Pudding
Drink
Blood Orange Spritzer (non-alcoholic)
Vegetable Juice (with herbs and spices)
Tea
Coffee

Pretty nice spread, right? Well since this is a baking blog, I must tell you that of course I baked something. But it wasn't the Pound Cake - that I bought from the store and jazzed it up with the sauces. I made the French Toast Pudding because I wanted to make French Toast, but didn't want to deal with all the battering and frying. This was an easy way to get all that French Toast goodness without a lot of work.



I found the recipe on Epicurious.com, but I modified it as follows:


Ingredients

12 (1-inch-thick) baguette slices (cut on a long diagonal)
3 tablespoons fresh espresso
3 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
dash of Cinnamon
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 cup of dried cherries
Cinnamon for dusting

Directions
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle and generously butter a 13- by 9-inch shallow baking dish or pan (3-quart; preferably glass or ceramic).

Arrange bread in 1 layer in baking dish and sprinkle the dried cherries evenly over the bread. Whisk together espresso, milk, eggs, vanilla, dash of cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth.

Pour custard over bread, then turn slices over several times so they soak up as much custard as possible. Sprinkle top with remaining 1 tablespoons sugar.

Bake until puffed and set, 25 minutes. Cool in dish on a rack 10 minutes, then dust with cinnamon.

This was the perfect accompaniment for the brunch and it was really quick and easy to make - it looked fabulous in the dish and it tasted like a good piece of French Toast. Allowing it to cool for that last 10 minutes allows the remaining custard to set properly, so you don't get a pudding but a really nice piece of "French Toast."



And my momma loved it, so there's all the endorsement you need to go and make a batch for your next brunch!
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