A Fabulous Holiday Brunch Dish

One of the challenges for many cooks (myself included!) during the Christmas holidays is figuring out what to serve overnight company for breakfast or brunch. A dish that is simple to prepare, that can be mostly assembled in advance, and that delivers a bit of dazzle is what we all want. This casserole of baked French toast topped with a glorious mélange of fresh and dried fruits will definitely fit the bill.

All you have to do is to arrange slices from a good peasant or country loaf in a baking dish, cover them with purchased eggnog, then refrigerate overnight. At baking time, you spoon apple wedges, diced dried apricots, and dried cherries that have been sautéed in butter and brown sugar atop the soaked bread, and add a sprinkle of walnuts. Then this breakfast gratin goes into the oven to bake unattended for about 40 minutes. Oh, did I mention that the fruits can be sautéed a day ahead? Continue reading

The 10- Minute Summer Fruit and Cheese Dessert


The French take their fruits and vegetables seriously so in each neighborhood you’ll find  several  “primeurs,” specialized stores that sell these products exclusively. I am crazy about these outposts and often go in and talk to the helpful sales people—“les vendeurs et les vendeuses.”  If I want to serve fresh melon with mint, they’ll smell and touch a dozen before handing me the perfectly ripe one for my dinner that night. If I can’t decide between white and yellow peaches, they’ll give me the heads up, and when I say I need some basil for a food photo, they’ll offer me the prettiest bunch.
 The other day at one of my local “primeurs,” the staff was abuzz about the figs. The first of the season had arrived and were “français,” not from some exotic land. I bought a  small bagful and prepared them simply.

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