PS: This recipe isn't for the weak-hearted. It is a Paula Deen recipe which means bring on the the calories!
Baked French Toast Casserole
1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tbsp grandualted sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1. Slice French bread into 20 slices (1" each). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9x13 baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices.
Side note: I use a regular loaf of Italian bread and layer the bread like you would assemble a lasagne. When I pulled the picture from the website (see photo on left), I noticed she sets the bread in the pan standing up. I am going to try it that way this next time. May mean I have to use French bread. The way I do it, the edges of the bread stick together and don't allow steam to come out so it 'puffs' up quite a bit while cooking. I usually do two layers. Tried doing three layers once and it spilled out all over my oven!
*UPDATE: DO NOT set them up in the pan like Paula does!! I didn't like it at all -- the "egg mixture" doesn't cook very well because it puddles in between the bread slices and there are sections of cooked egg; it's hard to know how to cut it once cooked; it's hard to spread the topping across the top of the slices. I DO NOT recommend doing the way the recipe says. I do prefer to layer it flat it the pan -- 2 rows.
2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices.
3. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
4. The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve warm with maple syrup.
1 stick butter
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 c chopped pecans
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. (Note: This is half the original topping recipe, but it is plenty for the above recipe.)