As you may know, I love to host brunch. It’s how I got my start cooking for people, back when I had my very own apartment for the first time. Here, of all places.
This is a brunch dish I make just about every single time, along with the spinach and gruyère strata, not least because you make it the night before and put it in the fridge. Nice.
Anywho, this is super easy to make, you can experiment with variations on it (maybe try spiking it with chambord and topping with raspberries, or maybe use grand marnier, amaretto…. the list goes on!). This time around, I sneaked in a bit of almond extract and topped with pecans (because I can never get enough pecans). Definite crowd pleaser.
♫ Music pairing: Ja Rule likes challah, too. ♫
Click to listen: Ja Rule – “Holla Holla”
Recipe adapted from the delightful Deb Perelman
- 1 loaf challah bread sliced about 1 inch thick
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3 eggs
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter
- Arrange bread in two tightly-packed layers in the pan. I think it’s kinda fun to play Tetris with chunks of challah to fill in any gaps. But I’m a weirdo. Deb advises not to have more than 3 layers or else it will bake unevenly.
- Whisk milk, eggs, sugar, salt, almond extract (and/or booze) and pour over the bread.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar, and pecans.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight – the bread will absorb all the custardy goodness!
- Wake up!
- Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden. This will take longer if you have additional layers.
- Serve with maple syrup, powdered sugar, fruit, whatever you can dream up!