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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Weekly Recipes: December 18

Baked French Toast

This is the basic recipe. It can be prepared almost all the way the night before. I make it about a million different ways. This week, I used cranberry walnut bread and didn't fill it with preserves or cream cheese or put nuts in the topping. I also only used the butter on one half of the bread, since there was no fruit in between.

1/3 cup butter, softened
14 slices of bread
fruit preserves (optional)

8 eggs
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (if you spread the bread with preserves, you may wish to use half almond extract, depending on the fruit)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Butter a large baking pan (I have an 11 X 15, but a 9 X 13 will work if you squish them in tightly once they are wet with the egg mixture).

Spread butter on one side of half the bread and lay out the bread slices in the greased pan. Top with preserves, if desired. Spread butter on a second slice of bread and use it to cover the bread with the fruit. You can crowd them, but don't overlap the bread.

Beat the eggs with the cream and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
Pour this over the bread in the pan. Press down firmly on the bread
with a spatula. You want to soak all the bread.

Let it stand on the counter for about 20 minutes (or you can put it in the fridge overnight, covered tightly with plastic or foil, and bake in the morning). Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Take off any plastic or foil. Melt 1/2 cup of butter with the brown sugar and maple syrup and pour over the soaked French toast. Bake the french toast at 375
degrees, uncovered, for about 35 minutes, or until the top has browned.
Let pan cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes.

Dutch Baby Pancake

This is an impressive and extremely simple breakfast or brunch dish. I make them one of two ways, either with almond extract in the batter, served with butter, powdered sugar and lemon juice or with cinnamon in the batter and served with preserves. I use a rather large stoneware pan to make them, but the amount can be proportionately reduced and successfully made in a smaller pan like a pie pan.

6 tablespoons butter
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups pastry flour (whole wheat pastry flour works beautifully)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of either almond extract or ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put butter in a large round pan with 1 1/2 to 2 inch sides. Put it in the oven when it is mostly preheated and while you are making the batter. Do not allow the butter to brown.

Use either a stick blender or a conventional blender to mix the eggs, flour, milk, sugar and flavoring. Pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with almonds. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave in for another 5 minutes.

Serve with either butter, a sprinkling of powdered sugar and lemon juice or fruit preserves.

Spanikopita Bread Pudding

1 pound loaf of bread, cut into 3/4 to 1 inch cubes
olive oil
1 pound spinach (frozen, leaf spinach is fine), chopped
2 onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 pound sheep's milk feta, cut into 1/2 inch or smaller cubes
6 eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a large baking pan liberally.

In a medium bowl, mix eggs and milk with oregano, thyme, salt and pepper thoroughly and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a frying pan and saute onions until translucent, add the spinach and garlic and cook until warm and well mixed.

Put half of the spinach mixture in the bottom of the pan. Put the bread cubes all over that and cover with remaining spinach mixture. Sprinkle feta cubes evenly over the top. Give the egg mixture another whisk to redistribute everything, then pour over the top of the pan. Press the bread down into the egg with a spatula to soak all the bread. Let sit for 15 minutes or so.

Bake uncovered for 25 minutes.

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Your breakfast recipes are making my family very happy! thanks...
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