Sunday, March 23, 2008


Every Easter for the last several years, SJG and I have hosted our friend Marion for breakfast at our house. We often make up a small Easter basket for her with her favorite candies. This year the Easter basket was pot roast and mashed potatoes from last night's meal. Marion is almost 94 and doesn't cook much for herself anymore, so she was more excited about her Easter basket than you might imagine.

For Easter breakfast this year, I made my absolute favorite French toast recipe, which I found in the local newspaper many years ago. It requires overnight soaking but is otherwise an easy, no-fail recipe that will wow your guests.

French Toast Extraordinaire

6 eggs
1-1/2 cups half-and-half
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
one day-old baguette or ciabatta loaf, cut into 1-inch slices on the diagonal for maximum surface (you can also buy a fresh baguette or ciabatta, slice it up, and allow the slices to dry for several hours ahead of time)

1) Mix the eggs, cream, vanilla, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl.
2) Arrange the slices of dried bread in a large, shallow baking dish (9 x 13).
3) Pour the egg mixture over the bread and turn the slices at least once to make sure the liquid soaks into each slice. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
4) The next morning, heat the oven to 450 degrees.
5) While the oven is heating, fry the slices of bread in butter on a hot griddle until browned nicely on each side.
6) Transfer the fried slices onto a lightly greased baking sheet (or two) and bake in the hot oven for 5-7 minutes until puffy. Serves 3-4 people.

*Sliced fresh fruit is a lovely accompaniment. We served fresh strawberries this time, along with thick-sliced bacon and freshly squeezed orange juice.

**Notice the tea towel in the photo above? I embroidered it when I was 10 years old. Embroidery is a skill that my mother forced upon my sister and me but for which I am now extremely grateful.

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