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French Toast Bread Pudding with Berries and Basil

This dish is easy and a real crowd pleaser from toddlers to grown ups. Sometimes if I am feeling particularly cheeky I put it right on my challah board and surprise my family when they pull the challah cover off for hamotzei. I’ll make it on New Year’s Eve and let it sit all day and pop it into the oven an hour before we eat. An easy Shabbat after a long night and an even longer year!

1 whole challah
8 eggs
1 cup whole or reduced fat milk ( not skim)
teaspoon of vanilla
1 tablespoon of pumpkin spice (or half cinnamon, half nutmeg)
2 cups each blueberries and quartered strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar
Half a stick butter
Parchment paper

Cut your whole challah into cubes, like you would for stuffing. Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, and pumpkin spice. Mix together the challah with your wet ingredients. Oil a medium-sized casserole dish and line with parchment paper with a few inches of overhang – this makes removing the whole casserole and serving it more elegantly very easy. You could also just serve in the casserole dish. Press your pudding mixture evenly into the casserole pan. Cover with aluminum foil and leave overnight. Can be done the night before or the morning before. The long soaking time creates rich, custardy flavor and texture.

An hour before Shabbat, remove aluminum foil and sprinkle two tablespoons of sugar and half a stick of butter, chopped into cubes, over the French toast. Pop that beauty in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until it puffs up beautiful and golden. While it’s cooking make your fruit, simply mix together fruit and basil, and if you happen to have leftover champagne, sprinkle about a quarter of a cup here and let it sit for half an hour.

Let the French toast cool for about ten minutes. Use that parchment paper to remove it and then simply cut the edges off with scissors. Put on a pretty plate or your fanciest cutting board – it is Shabbat after all! Top with berries for a delicious and simple Shabbat! Eat in your fanciest pajamas with mimosas.

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