Monday, August 1, 2016

Lemon Brioche French Toast

Brioche is a bread, French in origin, with a high egg and butter content.  As a result, it's very rich and tender.  I've had brioche while traveling and have made brioche rolls a time or two (no where near as light as what I've had in bakeries.  Sigh!) For whatever reason, it's almost impossible to find brioche in my local bakeries or grocery stores.  Recently, one of the higher-end grocery stores has begun to carry a brioche loaf.  I bought one with the intent to make this French toast casserole. We were at the race track when I made it.  My guys ate it but I think they preferred the more substantial biscuits and gravy I served them the next day! However, my daughter-in-love expressed an interest in having some so I made it again.  I enjoyed it both times!

French toast, by nature, isn't real flavorful.  It's basically bread dipped in eggs and milk, the flavor coming from the syrup or toppings.  The lemon zest in this dish adds a nice sweetness, which pairs especially well with fresh berries.  I used strawberries but raspberries, or any other berry, would easily work.

This recipe can be made and baked immediately or made the night before.  I like to slowly ease into my Sunday mornings so I assembled this dish and refrigerated it overnight.  All I had to do in the morning was make coffee, prepare the berries and wait for the casserole to cook. Breakfast doesn't get much easier than this!

Lemon Brioche French Toast

One 16 to 20-ounce loaf brioche
2 lemons, zested and juiced
3 large eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups 2% milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups confectioner sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Grease 9×9 inch casserole pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Slice bread into 1/2-inch slices, then cut each slice in half. Arrange half of the bread layers in the baking dish. Sprinkle the bread with about half of the lemon zest.

Whisk eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in brown sugar. Whisk in the milk, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, and remaining lemon zest. Pour half of the egg mixture over the bread, then layer the rest of the bread on top. Pour the rest of the mixture over the top. You can either bake the casserole immediately, or place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking.

When ready to bake, take the casserole out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before baking. Bake casserole for 30 minutes, or until slightly golden on top.

Let casserole cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Serve with sweetened berries and/or maple syrup.
You can see how light and rich the brioche is!

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