Christmas Day Breakfast: Pear Vanilla French Toast Casserole
by Sandy Coughlin
The Reluctant Entertainter 
I was looking forward to my sisters coming over for brunch this past weekend … to celebrate Christmas, sisterhood, and to reminisce about our Mom.
When our mom passed away, the 3 of us told each other that we’d always remember her at Christmastime by giving to each other, in “Millie-style.” That may sound odd, but our Mom Millie knew exactly “how” to buy gifts for us girls. She knew us well–what we liked, what would make us happy–and she always gave us the perfect gifts.
I want to share with you what I served for breakfast/brunch because not only is this recipe TO DIE FOR, it’s easy and you prepare it the night before.
Which was good for me, because little did I know I’d not be falling into a deep sleep until 4 AM. Our daughter had had oral surgery that day, and needed care throughout the night. My husband gently woke me up at almost 9 AM and all I could think of was, My sisters are coming, my sisters are coming!
Sisters are easy. They don’t look too carefully at the dishes in the sink, the unvacuumed floor, or the clutter-y piles around the house (Christmas cards, wrapping paper, … stuff everywhere). Sisters are also easy because they, just like my Mom, know exactly what kind of gifts to give. I am blessed by my wonderful sisters!
The point of my story today is this: Make life simpler on Christmas morning by making my Pear Vanilla French Toast Casserole.
You make it up the night before, so no matter how late you sleep in, all you have to do is pop it in the oven.
(This recipe is taken from my new book, The Reluctant Entertainer , page 153.)
Baked Pear Vanilla French Toast
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 T. water
3 fresh pears or 28 oz. canned pears, drained and sliced
4 cups French bread, cut into small pieces (better to not use the crust)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 cups milk or cream
2 tsp. vanilla
powdered sugar or maple syrup (optional)
Melt the brown sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the water and continue heating until bubbly. Remove from heat and pour into a well-greased 9×13 pan, making sure it is spread evenly.
Slice the pears and arrange evenly on top; of the brown sugar mixutre. Sprinkle the French bread pieces over th pears, then the chopped nuts.
Beat eggs, milk, vanilla together and pour evenly over the entire mixture. cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes, or until it becomes puffy and the eggs are no longer runny.
(Serve with powdered sugar or maple syrup – optional. I prefer to serve it plain, I think it’s sweet enough!)
I can guarantee that your family is going to LOVE you on Christmas Morn!
What are your plans for Christmas Morning breakfast this year?