I need to stop doing things like making a complicated braided loaf of bread just to cut it up and put in a casserole. Especially considering that Deb specifically calls for supermarket bread, clarifying that there is no need for super fancy stuff. No! Everything must be fancy! This is why I have no time to clean my house.
Deb suggests a range of flavoring options, but the first time I made this, I happened to have a grapefruit around, so I went a citrus direction, with grapefruit zest and triple sec. I also added vanilla to make, essentially, creamsicle French toast. Highly – highly – recommended.
Like most breakfast casseroles, the big advantage here (besides that it tastes like a creamsicle) is that you can make it in advance and then just bake it in the morning. Furthermore, it’s a simple, easy recipe, with just a few ingredients and simple mixing method. Which is very good thing, because you can spend the time you save making the casserole baking an impractically beautiful and fresh loaf of bread.
This recipe is infinitely adaptable. Use whole milk for extra richness or lowfat milk to cut calories. Mix and match your liqueurs and your add-ins. Skip the liqueur entirely and use a couple teaspoons of an extract.
1 loaf challah, sliced 1-inch thick
3 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup liqueur (see note)
other flavorings – ½ cup toasted nuts, 1 teaspoon zest, ½ cup dried fruit
1. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Arrange half of the bread in a tightly-packed layer in the pan. Add the nuts or dried fruit, if using. Place the remaining bread on top of the first layer.
2. Whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, salt, liqueur, and zest, or flavorings of your choice and pour over the bread. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
3. Bake at 425 degrees until puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Cut into generous squares and serve with maple syrup, fresh fruit, powdered sugar or all of the above.