French Toast Strata

December 10, 2007

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What could be better than French toast casserole, ready to bake the moment you get up. All you have to do is turn on the oven. Well, you might want to heat the maple syrup. This is sublime! SAM

8 (1-inch) slices day-old sour dough bread
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar plus additional for topping
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cognac
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Dash of freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, diced, plus additional for serving
Maple syrup, hot

Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and fill completely with the bread slices. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a wire whisk until frothy. Add the milk, half-and-half, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, cognac, cinnamon, and salt, stirring to blend. Pour the egg mixture over the bread, cover tightly with foil, and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Dot the bread mixture with butter and bake, uncovered, for 45 to 50 minutes, until puffed and golden. Remove to a wire rack and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving with additional butter and hot maple syrup.

Makes 4 servings.