Queen Esther’s Toast
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp maple or corn syrup
- 4 bananas
- 6 1 ½” thick even-size slices of challah or brioche
- 1 ½ cups half-and-half
- 6 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 4 tsp confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
- 1 tsp cinnamon, to garnish
- Melt the butter, brown sugar, and maple or corn syrup in a saucepan, stirring to break up the brown sugar. Bring to a boil and continue to cook for 2 minutes without stirring. Then coat the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch pan with this syrup and cool.
- Cut the bananas in half-inch-thick circles. Scatter the fruit over the syrup in the pan.
- Trim the crust from the bread if you wish to make the slices uniform (I don’t usually bother) and arrange the bread over the fruit.
- Blend together the half-and-half, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest in a large mixing bowl and carefully pour the mixture over the bread in the pan, making sure that all the bread is well soaked. You might have to use a spatula to pat the bread down or spoon some of the egg mixture over the pieces. Refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and remove the casserole from the refrigerator. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Run a knife around the inside of the pan. Invert a platter over the baking dish and carefully flip the pan over onto it. There will be a lovely fruit pattern on top. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, cut into portions, and serve immediately.
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