It you are unfamiliar with Sam Hoffer and her wonderful blog, My Carolina Kitchen, you need to hop on over (when you're finished reading here, of course) and check it out. It was here that I learned that Lilly Pulitzer, who recently passed away, published two delightful books on cooking and entertaining. Within minutes of having read this post, I headed out to locate them. Fluffy and fun, just reading them made me feel like I was on vacation in Palm Beach, inhaling the salty air and sipping cocktails with friends. Both photos and text will make you smile, the recipes will have you salivating. I have a long list of those I hope to try, and if they are all as good as this one, I will be a happy camper.
Just in time for Mother's Day...
Baked Banana French Toast
with Ginger-Maple Syrup
From Essentially Lilly by Lilly Pulitzer and Jay Mulvaney
Put this dish together the night before; the next morning it will be ready to serve after only half an hour of baking. Lightly toasting the challah makes stuffing it easier; skip the toasting step if using a day-old loaf.
1 to 1-1/2-inch-thick slices challah
1 large banana, cut on diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon minced candied ginger
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Butter small baking dish (9x9x2-inch square cake pan or similar). Lightly toast challah. Using small sharp knife, cut slit in bottom edge of each slice of bread to form pocket; insert 3 to 4 slices of banana in each. Place stuffed bread in single layer in prepared dish.
Whisk eggs in medium bowl to blend. Add milk, cream, and vanilla, and whisk to blend well. Pour mixture over bread slices in dish, basting to coat well. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Combine syrup and ginger in small saucepan; cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Uncover French toast and bake until puffed and just beginning to brown on top, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, heat syrup-ginger mixture over low heat.
Sprinkle baked French toast with toasted almonds and powdered sugar, and serve warm with syrup.
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