Friday, December 26, 2014
Night Before French Toast
When I was a kid, my mother started this tradition. I vaguely remembered that she got the idea from someone else, but I couldn't remember who. Then one day, a couple of years ago, I posted about the tradition on Facebook.
A couple of extended family members saw the post and told me who it started with. It was my step-grandma Shirley. My mother picked it up from her. Turns out that it's branched out quite far now. I do the tradition. Shirley's granddaughters and granddaughters-in-law also do the tradition. My mother still does the tradition. It would not surprise me at all if Hannah carried it on someday.
This tradition is called Night Before French Toast.
Every Christmas Eve, my mother would make Night Before French Toast. You refrigerate it all assembled over night and put it in the oven the next morning. This dish works extremely well on Christmas morning. The whole idea is that you are not chained to the stove, but you can still serve a fancy and delicious breakfast.
Soon after I got married, my mother gave me the recipe. She typed it on this recipe card. I still have it.
I started making Night Before French Toast when I wasn't with my mother for Christmas. The first year was when I was expecting Jacob. In December of 1996, Jeremy and I had the sweetest little Christmas at home in Park Slope.
I made the Night Before French Toast this Christmas. I also recommend it at other times. It's fantastic when you have people over for brunch. Jeremy and I once hosted his family along with relatives from California at our place one year, and I made two big batches. People loved it. The only person I've encountered that doesn't is Noah. I feel that he may come around to it someday.
I also find that it works really well when kids sleep over at our house. It's very special but it's almost no effort for me. It goes over really well and then I am perceived as the cool mom.
If you want a great New Year's day breakfast, make it and put it in the fridge before you go out on New Year's Eve.
This is the basic recipe. Over the years I've adapted it.
One of my secrets is that I substitute buttermilk for half of the milk in the recipe. I started doing this because Jeremy and I are crazy about buttermilk. I believe that the buttermilk makes it very custardy on the inside and crisp on the outside.
You can also vary the bread that you use. Lately, I've been making it with Challah bread. That is a natural for this recipe and it goes with it beautifully.
I've also used sourdough bread with Nite Before French Toast. I'm a big fan of the sweet/sour/savory combo. Hence the buttermilk and sourdough bread.