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:
Scrambled Eggs with Sun dried Tomatoes
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
Blood Orange Spritzer (non-alcoholic)
Vegetable Juice (with herbs and spices)
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:
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
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!