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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Makin' this one again.

 The weekend before Thanksgiving was a wonderful one. It was my mother-in-law's birthday. My husband and I had planned a modest,yet filled-with-love celebration for the morning of her birthday.It involved making the casserole the night before and baking that joker in the morning. Here's what had happened:
I peeled a bunch of apples. Six to be exact: 2 Rome,2 Granny Smith, and 2 Fuji. Toasted some big pieces of French bread.Made up a custard of sorts and the situated all that goodness in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Covered it,put in the fridge and went to bed.
 I got up the next morning. Retrieved the apple/french bread/custardy goodness casserole from the fridge and put it in the oven to bake.And it baked while I had a leisurely morning drinking coffee and reading magaiznes  on the deck.
           The casserole has to bake for a bit which is the perfect amount of time if you have some catching up to do with yo magazines and other various reading material.So I set a timer and halfway through the baking time I went to check on the heaven baking in the oven.
   I tell you what if you could have smelled the apple/french toast/custardy goodness smells coming from that oven,oh it smelled so good. So good. The cinnamon,fresh apple/baked apple,sweet vanilla/brown sugar wafts of steam that came from that oven,it smelled so good that I can't even use good grammar to explain to you how good it smelled. And it tasted even better.
   I open the oven (wait,wait can't see, must take a moment to wipe off the applely goodness-filled steam from my glasses). As the fog clears,this is what I find: The apples have browned on the edges. The cinnamon has made a light,delicate crust over everything.And oh good gravy,the bread has soaked up all the custard and baked full of brown sugar.I knew this was gonna be good. Now close the oven door and walk away,... there you go. I think if the pull of magazines, a warm quilt and the lack of caffeine weren't leading me back to the deck,I would have sat there in that cottage with the oven door open all morning it smelled that wonderful.
   The timer went off for a second time and I jumped up as carefully as I could with a magazine in my lap,cup of coffee in my hand and my legs wrapped up in a quilt ( I actually took my time getting up,the quilt I was wrapped up in is older than our ages combined,no family-history pressure there at all.) and RAN to the cottage.I found those same amazing smells when I walked in,but this time I got to take it OUT of the oven.
Well I'll be,baked apples and French toast all in one.

That one little piece just couldn't take it anymore in a casserole filled with so much love.
Hey good-lookin',what you been cookin?

   I think you should make this casserole very soon.I'm going to make it for the morning after Christmas and enjoy all my presents and some baked apple,French toast heaven on my plate.I know,I know all the good food that surrounds the holiday season and I have to ask myself "How in the world could I take just one more bite of rich,sweet (or savory,whatever is on your plate in front of you...) food?" If I had this baking in my oven there would be no question to ask.Enjoy the amazing food of the season and don't forget to thank the people making all that food, you will be enjoying this holiday season.So blessed!

Baked Cinnamon-Apple French Toast
adapted from Gale Gand's Brunch!
100 Fantastic Recipes for the Weekend's Best Meal
6 medium apples-an assortment is best
2 TBL ensalted butter,cut up into 
small cubes,plus more for the baking dish
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
8 slices Texas toast(or a thick
 prescliced white bread)
8 large eggs
1/2 cu granulated sugar
3 1/2 c whole milk
1 TBL pure vanilla extract
1. Peel,core and cut the apple into 1/4-inch thick slices. Heat the butter in a saute pan over medium heat until it starts to foam. Add the apples and cook the until tender,about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the brown sugar,cinnamon,and nutmeg. Set aside.
2. Lightly toast the bread. Cut the toast slices in half to make triangles. Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish,and arrange the bread in the baking dish,overlapping the pieces.
3. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl;then whisk in the sugar,milk, and vanilla to make a custard. Pour the custard over the bread pieces, and spoon the apples over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
4. The next day: heat the oven to 350 degrees. Uncover the baking dish and bake for 50-60 minutes,until the custard is set and doesn't shimmy when you shake the dish.It will puff up and brown slightly. Remove the casserole from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve in large squares or spoonfuls,with honey butter (Honey butter-soften one stick of unsalted butter. Mix in a pinch of salt and 1 TBL of honey. Sitr together to mix completely,transfer to a small serving dish.Cover and chill until ready to use.)

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