Poteca Inspired Baked French Toast

By • December 7, 2010 • 11 Comments

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Author Notes: My father-in-law is of Slovenian descent and every year for the holidays he makes loaves of poteca (po-teet-sa), a traditional yeast bread with a lemon-scented walnut filling. I used a delicious recipe for Crème Brûlée French Toast from Gourmet Magazine as my starting point and added the walnut & lemony goodness of the poteca. The result is a like a mash-up of a sticky bun & poteca in french toast form.
It's great for a holiday breakfast - decadent and delicious, plus prepped the night before. In the morning it just requires a room-temp rest and a stint in the oven - easy peasy!
hardlikearmour

Food52 Review: This is a piece of holiday breakfast joy. I was to make HLA's dish for brunch guests, but they succumbed to the flu so with her help I halved the recipe, using 2 eggs plus another yolk. In her typical fashion, HLA layered the flavorful undertones by utilizing lemon zest and vanilla in both the sugar mixture and the egg base, resulting in a rich and lovely taste. Using my daughter's childhood baking pans, I made two different batches and discovered you can make this recipe more of a breakfast bun, or an eggy, baked French toast. The bread I used was a dense honey oat, and I cut just under 1-inch slices. With the first batch I left the crusts on the bread and poured the egg mixture on the bread, as directed. When baked the next day, we thought it resembled a less sticky and very delicious breakfast bun. With the second batch, I cut off the crusts, and actually dipped the bread slices in the egg mixture, and then placed the bread in the baking dish. Then I poured excess egg liquid over the bread. This batch had an eggier texture, more like a French toast. Both preparations have their merits and the sugar and walnut mixture works beautifully. Thanks for a great recipe.Bevi

Serves 6

  • loaf unsliced white sandwich bread
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (one stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 & 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons half-and-half, divided
  • zest from two lemons, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 cups walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  1. Heat oven to 225 degrees F. Remove end crusts (heels) from bread, then cut bread into 6 1-inch thick slices. The bread slices should fit tightly in a 9- by 13- inch baking pan. Place slices of bread directly on oven rack near center of oven, and dry for about 15 minutes. Bread should not start to toast or fully dry out, but the surfaces should feel dry to the touch. Turn off oven.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar together over medium heat, stirring frequently. When mixture boils and butter and sugar are combined, remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons half-and-half, all but 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Pour mixture into bottom of 9- by 13- inch baking pan. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts in an even layer over the brown sugar mixture. Place bread slices in a tightly packed single layer over the chopped walnuts. You may trim the crusts if needed or if desired.
  3. In a bowl whisk together eggs, 1 & 1/2 cups half-and-half, granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Make sure sugar is dissolved, and eggs have been completely incorporated. Pour mixture evenly over the bread slices. Cover and chill overnight (at least 8 hours).
  4. Remove pan from refrigerator, and allow to rest at room temperature for 45 - 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and bake French toast in middle of oven for about 35 - 40 minutes. The edges should just begin to brown, and the bread should puff up. Allow to rest for 5 to 6 minutes, then serve making sure to invert the pieces onto plates. (The first one will not look as nice as the rest, so give that one to yourself.)
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almost 3 years ago Waverly

Sounds deelicious!

Gator_cake

almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you, Waverly!

036

almost 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

OH YUM! This would be great after, say, a 13.1 mile run! (hint hint)

Gator_cake

almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

That's a good idea! Yay for guilt-free gluttony!

3-bizcard

almost 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wow, first thing I thought of is sticky buns when I saw this but its much more than that. A hot cup of coffee and a big piece of this and I am in heaven, Saving!!

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

almost 3 years ago lapadia

Yes! that is what I thought of, sticky buns :)

Gator_cake

almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you, sdebrango & lapadia! It's a lot like sticky buns! Very decadent so great for a special occasion.

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

almost 3 years ago lapadia

Yes to this! Delicious and start the night before = perfect holiday breakfast. Hey, I didn't see this recipe before, it is practically when you first started on F52!

Gator_cake

almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, lapadia! I'm with you on starting the night before. It makes the holiday morning meal much easier.

Gator_cake

almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, monkeymom. It's like dessert for breakfast, plus I love breakfasts I can mostly prepare the night before!

Monkeys

almost 4 years ago monkeymom

This looks so amazing! I love all the nuts.