Upside Down Vanilla French Toast & True Love

Jun 2, 2011

Bread and eggs are every bit as crucial as blue, red, and yellow.  They are the launchpad for many dishes.  Plus, baguettes and eggs make decent stand-ins for bats and baseballs.  You might know this if you have an almost 12-year-old.

I was completely unprepared to fall in love when I met my husband.  I was leaving to trek across India and Nepal, he was about to take off to practice medicine in rural Ecuador.  We lasted apart for one week.  We married three months after meeting.

This weekend he turns 39 and asked for a birthday brunch.  I am prepared for this – Upside Down French Toast can be made a day in advance, but it’s every bit as sweet as being lovestruck.

Upside Down Vanilla French Toast

You can prepare this the day before you plan to serve it.

1 vanilla bean

3 cups milk

3/4 stick of butter

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

5 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

12 pieces of crusty bread (French baguette works best, though any leftover thick bread is fine)

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Split the vanilla bean, scrape it into the milk, and let the bean bathe. Melt butter, sugar, and cinnamon in saucepan on low heat. Pour into the bottom of a heavy-bottomed baking dish (9 x 13). Place bread on top. Discard the vanilla bean pod from the milk. Mix milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt, and pour over the bread. Refrigerate overnight. Dust top with nutmeg. Bake at 325 degrees F for 40 minutes, then 350 for 5 to 10 minutes. Turn the pan over, inverting onto a tray, and serve. If you don't have a tray or platter, let people serve themselves from the pan.

Note: For Apple Upside Down French Toast: If you have fresh fall apples, peel and slice six Granny Smiths or other tart apples, sauté them in a bit of the butter without letting them brown. Continue on with the rest of the directions, melting the rest of the butter, sugar, and spices, and using the apple layer as the bottom before the bread.