Vanilla French Toast

SERVES 3-4 peeps for a belated Christmas breakfast

ADAPTED from Smitten Kitchen’s Boozy Baked French Toast

INGREDIENTS: 6 slices of inch-thick bread (SEE NOTES), 1 cup of milk, 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1/2 a vanilla bean, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 2 eggs, a handful of pecans

DIRECTIONS: Arrange bread in a single layer in a 10 by 10 baking pan. Combine milk, heavy cream, sugar, salt, and eggs in a medium bowl. Slice the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. Add them to the bowl and stir. Pour the contents through a strainer, into the pan and it should almost cover the bread. The strainer catches the tough parts of the egg white. Scatter the pecans in the pan, tightly wrap with saran wrap, and put in the fridge overnight (or for an hour).

Preheat the oven to 375F and transfer the bread to a parchment paper covered tray. Bake for 30 minutes until puffed and golden.

NOTES: Most recipes use Challah bread and I’ve had very good results from it, but Pioneer Woman uses a French country loaf and so did I. Don’t believe what Deb of Smitten Kitchen says, the good stuff does make a difference! I’ve also had good experience using a combination of milk, half and half, and heavy cream. I used such a high fat ratio because we didn’t have much milk in the house.

Don’t half a vanilla bean? No problem! Smitten Kitchen lists a whole bunch of alternatives from bourbon to lemon zest.

Many recipes also state that you can bake the French toast in the tray it’s soaked in, but my family are a bunch of butter-phobes so I bake it on parchment paper instead of greasing the tray.

Other recipes that I referenced were Smitten Kitchen’s Cinnamon French Toast and Creme Brulee French Toast, Alton Brown’s French Toast recipe, and Pioneer Woman’s recipe.

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