Chef Virginia Willis has hit a home run with her debut cookbook, Bon Appetite, Y’all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking. Starting with the fabulous title and beautifully detailed cover, to the inspiring photographs inside, this cookbook is a sentimental journey through three generations, sharing favorite recipes as well as several inspired by those favorites.
The stories are sweet and the recipes sweeter. My favorite so far is a lovely twist on an old standard, French Toast Casserole. Willis describes it this way:“The smell of butter, kissed with cinnamon.” I agree whole-heartedly. This is a wonderful combination of vanilla and cinnamon. It’s easy to make and convenient enough for a weekday morning. I urge you to give it a try.
French Toast Casserole
recipe on pg. 71
by Virginia Willis
4 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 loaf brioche or challah, sliced 1 1/2 inches thick
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
1 TBSP pure vanilla extract
1/2 TSP ground cinnamon
1/2 TSP ground ginger
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
Confectioners’ sugar for accompaniment
Combine the melted butter and brown sugar in a baking dish. Arrange the bread slices in the dish. Whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a bowl. Pour over the bread, letting it soak in. Top with pecans. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 12 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Let the chilled casserole stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Bake until browned and set, 30-45 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool slightly. Sift over confectioner’s sugar. Serve hot or warm with maple syrup.
Return to The Catholic Conspiracy