Part of that re-entry involved catching up on those unavoidable tasks that pile up when we’re out of pocket. Wal-Mart, grocery, a little pre-Easter prep, etc., all awaited; some of those required Hubby’s presence. Fortify him well, I reasoned, so he’s a willing accomplice to all the “Honey-Do”s that lie ahead.
After the breakfast I hatched up, Hubby might well have been primed to say yes to diamonds and pearls (I didn’t try, mind you, but I could have.) Breakfast consisted of none other than a dish temptingly titled Praline-Pecan French Toast, adapted from a recipe out of a recent Southern Living magazine that featured old Southern standbys with a new twist. The recipe’s tagline read, “A short-order breakfast special gets an easy hands-off finish in the oven.”
I have to admit, this dish doesn’t look very promising when it’s baking. I had to keep peeking at it through the oven-door window and kept murmuring, “Southern Living, I don’t know about this . . ..” From top-side up it simply resembled a bunch of wheat-bread scraps stirred around in a bread bag and shaken out into a 13-inch-by-9-inch glass pan.
After I pulled the baked item from the oven, however, I turned the bread slices onto a dish with their bottom sides flipped over. During the cooking the bread had been baking in a pool of melted butter, brown sugar, sugar-free maple syrup, and broken pecans. Overnight the bread had soaked in a mixture of egg substitute, skim milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Once turned out onto its serving dish the pecan mixture in which it had baked became a crumbly, golden, nut topping that crowned the browned French toast. The broken nuts, saved from a previous pecan harvest from our pecan trees, had cooked up crisp and sweet. I sprinkled on a little powdered sugar, a requisite for any French toast. Then I summoned Hubby for the breakfast of his dreams.
Not one extra dab of syrup was needed for this breakfast delight, fit for a king (or the king of my house, anyway). Sure did make the errands that stretched out ahead look an awful lot sweeter.
Praline-Pecan French Toast
8-10 torn slices (day-old) whole-wheat bread
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (or brown-sugar substitute)
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar-free maple syrup
3/4 cup chopped pecans
4 large eggs (or 1 cup egg substitute, lightly beaten)
1 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
Stir together brown sugar and next two ingredients; pour into a lightly greased 13-inch-by-9-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle broken pecans over brown-sugar mixture in baking dish. Whisk together eggs and next 4 ingredients. Arrange torn bread pieces over pecans; pour egg mixture over bread. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 8 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread 35 to 37 minutes or until golden brown. Turn out, pecan-side up, into individual serving dishes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately. Makes 8 to 10 servings.