The fine bakers at King Arthur Flour know standing at the stove flipping French toast is not always the most sociable way to enjoy breakfast or brunch. This combination of bread pudding and French toast is a great solution, since it’s baked all at once in individual portions that can be customized with each person’s favorites, from fruits to meats, in any number of combinations. Once hot out of the oven, everyone can sit down together to enjoy each other’s company and their unique breakfast creations.
4 large eggs or 1 cup egg substitute
1 1/2 cups milk, half & half, or light cream, or a 12-ounce can evaporated milk
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
big pinch of nutmeg
a generous 5 cups cubed fresh bread (See “tips”, below.)
About 3/4 cup raspberries or other berries (frozen are fine); or sliced bananas or apples; or uncooked breakfast sausage, thin-sliced ham, or strip bacon (cut the ham in 2 1/2″ squares, the bacon in 2 1/2″ pieces)
2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar
Mix the eggs, milk, sugar, salt, vanilla, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir in the bread cubes and let the mixture soak at room temperature for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the bread is soaking, preheat the oven to 350°F, and grease 12 silicone muffin cups, or line a muffin tin with papers, and grease the papers. Spoon the soaked bread and any remaining liquid into the prepared muffin cups, distributing it evenly. Place berries, sliced fruit, or uncooked meat on top, then cover each pudding with a shower of brown sugar; 1 to 2 teaspoons, to taste, should be about right. No need to cook the meat first; it’ll bake along with the puddings. Bake the puddings for 30 minutes, until the tops are brown and they’re bubbling gently. Remove them from the oven, wait about 5 minutes, and turn them out of the muffin cups onto a plate. Serve with syrup or raspberry sauce.
Use a substantial white bread, like pain de mie or a dense artisan loaf; or try oatmeal bread. Avoid “air bread,” or any other soft, squishy bread that’s liable to fall apart when soaked in milk.
Note: For banana puddings, slice 1 banana in 1/2″ slices, and stir with the bread into the egg/milk mixture.