I didn’t do a traditional Christmas dinner this year. We were sort of hunkered down at home…alone! This is where I do the happy dance and pump my fist in the air. No crazy in-laws making a travesty of dinner. Yes! Since I wasn’t up for anything formal, I decided a brunch with a spiral ham was perfect. That way we could graze all day and not worry about schedules. We put in movies, played with new toys, and generally just lazed around and ate when the spirit moved us.
One of the things I served was a baked french toast casserole. I’ve had the recipe for years and had only made it once before, but my recollection was that it was really, really good. Otherwise, why would I have kept this tattered section of The Grand Rapids Press dated December 2002? It had a few handwritten notes scrawled in the margins which, by all accounts, only improved it the second time around. Be forewarned: it’s incredibly decadent. It’s probably best served as a brunch item with a good-sized crowd – which we didn’t have, but it gave us lots of leftovers. And, well, there are apples and raisins, so….how bad can it really be for you? Right? Enjoy!
Apple-raisin-cinnamon French Toast Casserole
- 1/2 c brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/3 c unsalted butter, melted
- 4 to 5 Gala apples, peeled, cored and sliced
- 1/2 c baking raisins
- 1 loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch slices (I used a Kosher Raisin Challah bread from Chompies in Scottsdale)
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 2 c milk
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Maple Syrup
In large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar cinnamon and nutmeg. Add melted butter. Stir in apples and raisins until well coated. Pour into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Layer bread slices evenly over apples.
In bowl, beat eggs, milk, vanilla and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Pour over bread, soaking each slice. Sprinkle top lightly with remaining cinnamon. Cover with aluminum foil and chill in refrigerator overnight.
Bake covered, at 375° for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 minutes or until top is golden. Let stand for several minutes before serving. Serve with warm maple syrup.