For reasons only known to them, my parents decided to get up at the ungodly hour of 3 am to drive the 5 or so hours to get to Toronto to drop off several boxes of books that I still have at their house. All they requested of me in return for these treasures was breakfast.
And they'd be there around nine, thank you very much.
Have I mentioned that I don't do mornings very well? And, when we do have breakfast on weekends, it's a long, leisurely affair that usually wraps up around noon.
Since my parents wanted to get back on the road for their adventure through Prince Edward County, something easy and make-ahead was in order.
After googling different recipes for about an hour, I settled on a baked french toast casserole. Throw in the flavours of crème brulée, and you're in for a luxurious tasting and incredibly easy meal.
It was such a success that we've decided this will be our Christmas morning breakfast this year.
Crème Brulée French Toast Casserole
(adapted from here)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 tbsp corn syrup
½ loaf french bread, cut into 2" slices on the diagonal
1¼ cups milk
2 tsp grand marnier
1 tsp vanilla
1. In a small saucepan, heat brown sugar with butter and corn syrup. Bring to a simmer, then remove and pour into an 8" baking pan.
2. Place slices of french bread over caramel mixture.
3. Whisk together eggs, milk, grand marnier, vanilla and salt. Pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate over night.
4. In the morning, preheat oven to 325º. Bake casserole for 45-55 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy, with caramel bubbling around the edges.
You can invert and serve at the table or just scoop out the french toast, which will have absorbed most of the caramel goodness.