Breakfast in our home growing up was pretty mundane during the week, especially once my mom went back to work as a nurse when I was in the fourth grade. Dad was the king of oatmeal! But when the weekend came...look out! Delicious smells wafted up the stairs to our bedrooms, making it almost impossible to sleep in. My mom was the queen of french toast, Norwegian pancakes (which some have the audacity to call "Swedish pancakes"! ), coffee cake, and cinnamon rolls. Dad was an early riser and didn't believe in allowing us to sleep in past 8 at the latest....so the aroma of breakfast worked in his favor...we couldn't resist Mom's cooking!
I always loved my mom's french toast...different than anything you would find on a restaurant menu (I'll share that recipe another time...maybe! ). Once I was married, I always kept an eye out for unique french toast recipes....always a fun food to share with guests that stayed over or came to brunch. A few years ago I was looking through the grocery fliers that came in the mail and a picture jumped out at me from Haggen's...Upside - Down French Toast. The picture had me drooling...so off to the market I went to purchase the bread the recipe called for and berries for garnish. One thing I liked about the recipe immediately was that the ingredients were pretty common...things one would normally have on hand. The key is good bread...the fresh, dense, white bakery loaves like "Vienna" (Haggen's) or "Pugliese" (Costco) or "Como" (Safeway), depending on the bakery.
Another great thing about this recipe is that you can assemble it the night before, although I have found I prefer the texture better when it is assembled in the morning (the nuts are a little crunchier). The original recipe made two pans so I cut it in half and adjusted proportions somewhat. The flavor of this french toast is very much like a warm pecan sticky bun...who can resist that? I have made this many times and it is always a hit!
Perhaps this weekend you will decide to try this out....you will not regret it...I promise!
Upside - Down French Toast
1/2 cup (1 cube) butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
3 large eggs
3/4 c. whole milk (or at least 2% milk)
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
8 to 10 slices dense white bakery bread
Optional...berries and whipping cream for garnish
Melt butter and pour into 9 X 13 pan. Sprinkle brown sugar over the butter. Sprinkle chopped pecans evenly over the brown sugar.
In a bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt. Dip the bread slices in the egg mixture and place on top of the pecans. Pour any remaining egg mixture over the bread at the end. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
Uncover and bake 40 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the toast is lightly golden brown. Invert (the Upside down part!) the slices onto plates. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar or a squirt of whipping cream and add a garnish of fresh berries. Bon Appetit!
Have a wonderful weekend, friends!