Pecan Crumble Baked French Toast with Bourbon Maple Syrup
This recipe makes 1 – 9 X 13 casserole – serves 6 to 8:
- Toasting challah bread cubes,
- Mixing the custard,
- Baking the casserole,
- Preparing bourbon maple syrup and,
- Making the Pecan Crumble topping
- 1 (1-pound) loaf of challah bread (12 to 14 cups of bread cubes)
- 1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter,
- 5 cups half and half or whole milk,
- 6 large eggs,
- 1 cup granulated sugar,
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract,
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional,)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 9×13-inch baking dish
- 2 baking sheets
- Mixing bowl
Preparing the Bread and Custard
- Heat the oven to 350°F arranging 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds.
- Slice the bread into bite sized cubes – leave the crust for a more rustic look.
- Divide the bread cubes into 2 rimmed baking sheets and spread evenly. Toast stirring halfway through, until the cubes are still pale feeling dry and hard to the touch (about 15 to 20 minutes total.) Remove and set aside to cool slightly.
- Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with the butter and add bread cubes and gently patting the cubes down so they settle into place.
- In a large bowl combine the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon (optional), and salt and whisk the custard.
- Pour the custard into the bread cubes baking dish making sure to get it into all the nooks and crannies to just below the top of the bread (edges and corners can poke out.)
- Refrigerate overnight (1 hour if you are in a hurry.) Cover and refrigerate overnight giving the bread time to absorb the custard.
Baking the casserole
Heat the oven to 350°F. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F.
Uncover the bread pudding and bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes (try inserting a tooth pick into the middle of the pudding and comes out clean and the tips of the bread on top are beginning to toast, If the top seems like it’s getting dark before the custard is done, tent the dish loosely with aluminum foil.
Set the baking dish aside on a wire cooling rack letting it cool for 10 minutes.
Bourbon Maple syrup
We use Village Garage Distillery’s “Village Bourbon” and Sugar Shack Maple Syrup –
Mix ¾ cup maple syrup (we use dark robust) to 2 Tbsp bourbon whiskey and ½ tsp of good vanilla extract. Heat in a small pot over low heat to lower the alcohol content (about 5 minutes) or use straight.
Preparing the Pecan Crumble
Ingredients for 1 casserole dish
- 1 cup of pecan halves
- 4 tablespoons chilled salted butter cut into pieces.
- 4 tablespoons light brown sugar.
Pulse pecans, butter, brown sugar in a food processor until nuts are coarsely chopped. Refigerate and sprinkle onto bread before baking in the oven.
We make this fresh, but you can make this ahead of time. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Reheat – its delicious and I promise to not tell.
Individual bread puddings: You can also prepare this pudding in individual ramekins. Divide the ingredients between as many ramekins as you have, filling them with custard mixture to just below the top. Chill and bake as normal, but start checking the puddings after about 20 minutes to gauge baking speed.
BREAKFAST AT THE INN
We serve breakfast between 8:30 and 9:30 and prepare the entrees individually as guests come down. So, when we do this fabulous bread pudding I let them know the night before the breakfast schedule. We serve a parfait consisting of blueberries and strawberries, yogurt (that’s mixed with Vermont maple syrup, topped with the Inn’s homemade granola before the breakfast entrée.