oven french toast with cardamom & orange

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OVEN FRENCH TOAST WITH CARDAMOM AND ORANGE
I’ve updated my Oven French Toast with the cardamom and orange zest and used brioche in place of the baguette. I’ve also cut the yield in half which it makes it more manageable for a small family on Christmas morning as opposed to the standard size for entertaining. To be festive, you could substitute eggnog for the milk and cinnamon and nutmeg in place of the cardamom. I might then top it with walnuts instead of almonds.

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Ingredients
8 oz. brioche, sliced 1/2-inch thick
3 eggs
1 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
Zest from half an orange
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup almonds, roughly chopped

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Procedure
Generously butter a 5” x 9” or similar size baking dish.
Arrange the slices in a row to fit snuggly in the baking dish.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, 2 T. of brown sugar, the zest, cardamom and vanilla with a pinch of salt.
Pour the mixture over the bread and press down so it begins to soak in.
Cover the top of the pan with buttered tin foil and weight the pan.
(I usually use a smaller pan filled with canned goods.)
Place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to overnight.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Take the pan from the refrigerator and remove the foil.
Combine pecans, butter, the remaining brown sugar, the salt and the cream in a saucepan and simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
Evenly spoon this mixture over the soaked bread.
Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
Uncover and bake about 10-15 more minutes.
Let the casserole rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Pass the maple syrup.

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