This is a basic bread pudding or French toast bake, whatever you’d like to call it, with a hint of holiday joy from the eggnog. I prefer a rich, creamy nog with a subtle spice blend that is not as sweet the typical eggnog you buy in the grocery store. Unless you’re making it at home, my two faves are Organic Valley and Mapleline Farm (local to Western MA).
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup half n half
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus a little for greasing the pan
- 1/2 vanilla bean split lengthwise
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 sourdough loaf or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (or any other bread you may prefer, I just bake sourdough often)
- 5 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup eggnog
- a pinch of cinnamon
- fresh nutmeg, for grating atop to serve
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees (or prep ahead of time, chill overnight, and bake in the morning).
- Butter the bottom and edges of an 9×13 baking dish thoroughly.
- In a small saucepan over a low heat, warm the milk, half n half, butter, vanilla bean, brown sugar and salt. Continue cooking until the butter just melts, then cool the mixture a bit.
- While the mixture cools, fill your baking dish with the cubed bread and mix the eggs and eggnog together in a bowl.
- Remove the vanilla bean from the cooled milk mixture, add a pinch of cinnamon, and whisk it into the egg and nog mixture. Pour the mixture over the bread cubes; be sure to push down any floating cubes so that all of the bread is dampened with custard.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until the custard is set and the tips of the bread have browned. Serve warm or at room temperature with a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg. Perhaps drizzle with local maple syrup.