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Delicious, easy-to-assemble and very pretty to look at - great for special occasions. It's a little more like bread pudding than traditional French toast. Can be assembled and the blueberry syrup made the day before serving. The next morning, simply bake the French toast and reheat the syrup before serving. Comes from the Junior League "Celebrate the Rain" cookbook. Note prep time does not include letting it rest in the fridge overnight. Use freshly ground nutmeg if you can (ground is OK too) and you can use fresh or frozen blueberries, your choice.
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 (12 ounce) baguette, preferably day-old
- 5 eggs
- 1 1⁄2 cups milk
- 3⁄4 cup light brown sugar, packed and divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1⁄2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Spread the pecan halves evenly on a baking sheet.
- Toast them until fragrant, about 8 minutes.
- Sprinkle the salt over the pecans and toss evenly to coat; set aside.
- Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.
- Cut the baguette into 1 1/2 inch thick slices and arrange them in an even layer in the baking dish. If some of the bread slices won't fit, save them for another use - note that if you stack slices, the cooking time will increase.
- Whisk together the eggs, milk, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg in a large bowl, and pour the mixture evenly over the bread. Turn the bread slices to coat them evenly.
- Chill the mixture, covered with plastic wrap, until all the liquid is absorbed by the bread, at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F Take the baking dish from the refrigerator and let sit for about 30 minutes to take some of the chill off.
- Just before baking, sprinkle the pecans and blueberries evenly over the soaked bread.
- Combine the butter with the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted. Drizzle the butter mixture over the bread.
- Bake until blueberry juices are bubbling around the edge of the pan and the bread is heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.
- To make blueberry syrup:.
- Cook the blueberries and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until most of the blueberries burst, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pour the syrup through a sieve into a heatproof pitcher, pressing on the solids to extract as much blueberry flavor as possible.
- Stir in the lemon juice.
- Set the pitcher in a pan of warm water to keep warm until ready to serve.