Tahoe Truckee students: Sleepover baked french toast with apples, cranberries and pecans
May 13, 2011
TAHOR/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Graduation is just around the corner and the kids are in a frenzy. Even little Annie, a mere freshman and going nowhere, is acting as if all her friends are about to disappear into a witness protection program. Enter the sleepovers. Annieand#8217;s going Beccaand#8217;s, Gunther is going to Brendanand#8217;s, a whole bunch of anxious girls are going to Kittyand#8217;s and itand#8217;s not even summer yet and no one is off to college for another three years and everyone still lives in a one-mile radius in Sierra Meadows. Suddenly, itand#8217;s your turn. Not only is Annie having a friend sleep over, but that friendand#8217;s family has a bigger house. A nicer house. A cleaner house. The pressure is on. Your husband, watching you scrub the baseboards for the first time since you were about to bring home a newborn, does not get it.
and#8220;Whatand#8217;s the big deal?and#8221; he asks. Typical. Of course he can relax, heand#8217;s not the one who has to wear a bar 24and#8260;7 for the next two days. So the question is, what to serve a 13-year-old guest when you know his or her mother is going to pick them up and ask, the minute they get in the car, and#8220;Whatand#8217;d you have for dinner?and#8221; The answer to that is: take out. Donand#8217;t even try to impress with dinner.
Save your efforts for breakfast, the last meal the better heeled guest will have before departure. This Baked French Toast is a stunner and can be made while the little darlings are still sleeping off the nightand#8217;s gab fest. Placing the warm platter on the table paints a much prettier picture than you standing by the microwave with pre-made, limp French Toast saying, and#8220;Did you want one or two slices?and#8221;
1 cup whole milk
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1 tsp. vanilla extract
1and#8260;4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1and#8260;2 loaf challah bread or 1and#8260;2 round of Kingand#8217;s Hawaiian Sweet Bread (the bomb!) both available at Safeway, cut into 1and#8260;2 inch slices
1and#8260;2 stick butter cut into small cubes
1 cup brown sugar
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1and#8260;4 inch thick rings or half rings.
1and#8260;4 cup heavy cream
1and#8260;2 cup pecans, chopped
1and#8260;2 cup dried cranberries
Powdered sugar for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon, pour into flat pan. Add bread slices to pan, coat and turn over to absorb liquid. Over low heat, cook butter and sugar until caramelized, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cream and pour into round baking pan. Sprinkle with pecans and cranberries. Arrange apple rings on top of this layer so you have a flat surface. Next, lay soaked bread slices on top of the apples so the apples are completely covered, with no gaps. Sprinkle top with brown sugar. Bake about 40 minutes until top is golden and puffy. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then invert onto large plate. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
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