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Baked French Toast with Eggnog and Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout topped with Pecan Crumble
Holiday Brunch is a longstanding tradition in my family. Every year, we eat breakfast as a family and then open presents in our pajamas. That tradition hasn’t changed, even though we celebrated Christmas in the beginning of December this year to avoid traveling over the holidays. This year my mom prepared a feast of bacon and eggs and fruit salad, but the menu changes every year. She once made baked french toast that was very similar to bread pudding; it was decadent and sweet and incredibly satisfying. The recipe that follows is inspired by that dish.
The key is to use full-fat eggnog, which will contribute to the rich, creamy texture. If you only have a reduced-fat version on hand, reach for heavy cream or half-and-half instead of whole milk. Paired with the robust flavors of the beer which contribute notes of bourbon and vanilla, the tart cranberries that plump while baking, and the crunchy pecan topping, well, it’s heavenly.
This recipe can also be prepared up to one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate the custard soaked bread and store the pecan crumble in a separate airtight container. Top the bread with the pecan mixture right before baking; this will prevent it from becoming soggy.
Serve with bourbon barrel aged stout or spiked coffee. Happy Holidays everyone!!
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Makes: one 9×13 inch pan, 6 to 8 servings
1 (16-ounce) brioche loaf, cut into 1” slices
8 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup eggnog
1 cup whole milk
1 cup bourbon barrel aged stout
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9×13-inch glass or ceramic baking pan, set aside.
Place brioche cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet; bake until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Whisk eggs in a large mixing bowl until well blended. Add sugar, eggnog, milk, beer, vanilla, and salt; whisk until smooth and well incorporated. Place an even layer of brioche cubes in prepared pan; scatter cranberries over top. Pour custard over bread until just covered (there may be extra). Let sit 10 minutes while bread absorbs mixture.
Meanwhile, combine pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix in butter with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spread pecan crumble evenly over top of soaked bread. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake uncovered for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until top is golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Top with maple syrup, homemade cranberry sauce, or freshly whipped cream.