4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted, plus more for coating the pan
3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
Makes:2 to 3 servings
OK, French toast really isn’t that hard to make. But when you’re doing it for a crowd or a special occasion, it can get tedious. Enter this casserole: Just layer the bread, dump the custard base over it, and bake. This version is loaded with pecans, raisins, orange zest, cinnamon, and maple syrup, so you don’t even have to garnish it.
Game plan: This recipe can be made up to 1 day ahead through step 2. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before baking.
1Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with butter. Shingle the bread slices (i.e., overlap them slightly) in the pan and sprinkle the raisins on top.
2Whisk together the eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla, zest, and cinnamon in a medium bowl until evenly combined. Pour the mixture over the bread and let soak for 15 minutes.
3Meanwhile, mix together the maple syrup and melted butter in a medium bowl until combined. Stir in the pecans and spoon the mixture evenly over the casserole. Place in the oven and bake until the custard is set and puffed and the bread is browned, about 40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.