Baked Blueberry-Pecan French Toast with Blueberry Syrup
1 24-inch baguette
6 large eggs
3 c. whole milk
1/2 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 t. vanilla essence
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. pecans
1/4 c. unsalted butter + 1 t.
1/4 t. salt
3 c. blueberries (1 c. is for the syrup)
1/2 c. maple syrup
1 T. fresh lemon juice
Butter a 9 x13-inch baking dish. Cut 20 1-inch slices from the baguette and arrange the bread in a layer in the baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, nutmeg, vanilla and 3/4 c. of the brown sugar and pour evenly over the bread. Chill the mixture, covered, until all the liquid is absorbed by the bread – at least 8 hours and up to a day.
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Spread the pecans evenly in a shallow pan and toast them in the middle of the oven for about 8 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove them from the oven and toss them with the 1 t. of butter and the salt.
Increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Sprinkle the pecans and 2 c. of the blueberries evenly over the bread mixture. Melt the 1/4 c. butter with the remaining 1/4 c. brown sugar, stirring occasionally. Drizzle the butter and sugar over the bread and bake the dish
20 minutes, or until any liquid from the
blueberries is bubbling.
Cook the remaining 1 c. blueberries and the maple syrup in a small saucepan over moderate heat until the berries burst. Pour the blueberry syrup through a sieve into a heatproof jug, pressing on the solids. Stir in the lemon juice. Cut the French toast into squares and serve with the syrup. Serves 6. (The syrup may be made a day ahead and kept covered and chilled. Reheat it to serve with the French toast.)