Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Brunch Menu | Table Setting | Recipe for Baked Pecan French Toast with Berry Syrup



If you have been reading this blog for a while you know it is our family tradition to host brunch on Christmas Day.  I have some go-to recipes like a spinach and egg strata that I've made many times but occasionally I'll come across a new recipe that inspires me to mix it up a bit.  Such was the case this year.  As soon as I saw the December issue of Bon Appetit I new I'd be making their Baked Pecan French Toast with Blackberry Syrup on Christmas morning.  I'm not a huge fan of traditional french toast, but baked French toast is a whole different experience!  I made a few tweaks to the recipe and will share them below, based on my typical baked French toast recipe.  The best part about this menu is that I made everything, except the bacon, the day before and just warmed it up in the morning.  Stress-free!  The recipes were easy to pre-assemble and the combination of foods worked well, just the right balance of savory and sweet.

^^I kept the table simple and fresh.  I used a boxwood topiary that has been on my kitchen window sill all month and a couple ironstone pitchers with berries and tulips I picked up at Trader Joe's a couple days before Christmas.  Drop a couple pennies in the bottom of the vases will help keep the tulips heads from drooping. ^^

^^ burlap runner is from PB, striped runner is from HomeGoods^^

^^ I tied a few fresh greenery clippings in with the napkins (from PB) ^^


^^  I served the food buffet style.  The only items I had on the dining room table were the warmed up crepes and a side dish with sugar and lemons in between Andrew + Charlie's seats, so that they could be made and rolled up one at a time. ^^

MENU
baked pecan french toast with mixed berry syrup 
white cheddar + chive quiche
(any of Jenny's quiches would be perfect!)
bacon
prosciutto de parma
mixed fresh berries
crepes with lemon + sugar
 (Crepes were eaten by the kids! Made in advance, you can reheat in the microwave.)
mimosas

Baked Pecan French Toast with Mixed Berry Syrup
(adapted from here)
PRINT HERE

1, 1 lb loaf of challah, sliced 1 inch thick. (Best to use 1 or 2 day old bread.  I like Trader Joe's challah.)
unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Pecan Topping:
1/2 cup pecans
2 TBS chilled unsalted butter, cut in pieces
2 TBS brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Butter a 13x9" baking dish.  Generously butter the tops of each slice of bread, then cut them in half (I found this made for an easier and prettier arrangement in the baking pan).  Cover the bottom of the dish in bread, then layer more slices on top, they will need to overlap to fit.  The dish will be FULL.

Whisk eggs, cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.  Pour over top of bread slices, pressing down to make sure the bread soaks up the egg mixture.  Sprinkle the top with 1-2 TBS of granulated sugar.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Pecan Topping:
Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Can be made a day in advance.  Cover and chill.

To Bake:
Remove dish from fridge and let it come to room temperature (about 45 minutes before it goes in the oven).  Preheat oven to 375.  Sprinkle pecan mixture over top, cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake until nicely puffed up and deeply brown.  Let cool slightly and serve with berry syrup.

Berry Syrup
1, 12 oz package of frozen berries, thawed (I used a strawberry, raspberry and blackberry mixture)
3 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 TBS sugar
1 cup pure maple syrup

Combine berries,  lemon juice and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat.  Reduce temp and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and stir in maple syrup.  Can also be made a day in advance.  Cover and chill.  Serve at room temperature.

PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE

20 comments :

  1. Beautiful! I bought the identical runner from TJ Maxx (which is owned by the same company as Home Goods), and I bought white tulips from Trader Joe's last week and almost bought those berries, but I wasn't sure how to arrange them with the tulips. Are those magnolia leaves in the arrangements? Thanks for your sharing your beautiful table!

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    1. thanks. the only flowers i have are the tulips and the berries. the leaves are from their stems.

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  2. So pretty. There is nothing better than baked french toast on Christmas morning. I serve mine with my cumin spiced bacon and it is heaven.
    -Lindsey
    www.thepressuredcooker.blogspot.com

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  3. I feel like I opened a favorite holiday magazine with this beautiful spread! Thanks for sharing your recipes and latest holiday finds. I love your philosophy on Christmas this year as well! Cheer to 2014!

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  4. I feel like I opened a favorite holiday magazine with this beautiful spread! Thanks for sharing your recipes and latest holiday finds. I love your philosophy on Christmas this year as well! Cheer to 2014!

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    1. Aw, so very kind. Happy New Year!!

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  5. Beautiful table, delicious menu! You are quite the hostess. I'd love to be a guest at your table any day! Happy New Year!!
    Claudia

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    1. Thanks, Claudia! U are welcome anytime, I always have plenty of food! :) May 2014 be filled with much happiness for you! xo, Tessa

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  6. Yum! I am sitting here eating leftover Pizza Hut pizza reading this...sigh. Everything looks and sounds wonderful. I love the copper planter with the candles reflecting in the glass of your cabinet. Beautiful. Enjoy your last few days of the Christmas vacation. Happy New Year!

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  7. Thanks, Kelly!! Happy 2014 to you as well!!!! xo

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  8. Looks delicious! Everything is perfect. I searched your blog for brunch ideas for Christmasd day. I'll have to add these ideas. Thank you so much!

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  9. I wonder how you stay so skinny. Beautiful table and the food looks delicious. We did a Grand Marnier french toast soaked overnight. It has been a family favorite for years. Nothing better than Christmas morning brunch!

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  10. thank you! I do have to exercise (regularly). I never really write about fitness and body weight things because those posts tend to turn me off when I read them elsewhere. we are all so hard on ourselves in that department, just rest assured, its nothing magical, I count calories and have to work them off. regretfully. :) ha! happy new year! xo

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  11. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, Tessa! I love looking at your home during the holidays. So festive, warm and cozy! You never miss a detail! Thanks for your comment too - I might have to take you up on it! I found someone who can do my window treatments, but finding someone to do slipcovers has been so hard!!

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  12. Tessa, I love your blog. I hope you and your family have a wonderful year ahead, and I hope you keep up blogging, I look forward to all your blogs.

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  13. Tessa, I always love reading your new posts! Happy New Year to you and your family! Where did you find the cute copper piece that is filled with greenery and candles on your hutch? I've been looking for something similar. Thank you!

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  14. Tessa, I always love reading your new posts! Happy New Year to you and your family! Where did you find the cute copper piece that is filled with greenery and candles on your hutch? I've been looking for something similar. Thank you!

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    1. Thank u! Cooper container was found at a local antique store.

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  15. Hi Tessa...made this French toast casserole last weekend and it was delicious! I don't usually buy whole milk and I was at a store that only sold it by the gallon. At the time, I didn't feel like driving around trying to find a smaller container, so I looked up a substitute on my phone which said to use 1 part condensed milk to one part water. I must say that it turned out great with the substitute, but I still would like to try the recipe next time with the whole milk just to compare! Thx for sharing the recipe...I will definitely be making it again!

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