By Kim Kushner
(The Nosher via JTA) – This is one of those recipes that sounds super complicated but is actually so simple. Using store-bought babka will make this Babka French Toast Loaf as easy as 1-2-3, but if you happen to bake your own babka, definitely use it.
Instead of serving the babka slices arranged on a serving platter, I transfer the slices into a loaf pan and line them up in a row, so they go back to forming the original “loaf shape.” When you serve the “loaf,” your guests will be pleasantly surprised to see that it is in fact already sliced into crispy, thick slices of toasty, chewy babka French toast.
Make-ahead tip: Babka French Toast Loaf may be prepared up to two days in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. If preparing ahead of time, do not bake in the oven before refrigerating (skip the last step in the recipe).
Can I freeze it? Babka French Toast Loaf may be stored in the freezer for up to one month. If preparing ahead of time, do not bake in the oven before freezing (skip the last step in the recipe).
How to reheat: Babka French Toast Loaf may be reheated, uncovered, in a 400 F. oven for 10 minutes just before serving. The frozen loaf may be thawed in the fridge overnight and reheated as indicated in the recipe above.
Reprinted from I Kosher: Beautiful Recipes from My Kitchen, with permission from Weldon Owen Publishing.
Babka French Toast Loaf
¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1 babka loaf or cinnamon loaf, about 15 ounces
3 large eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 300 F. Grease a loaf pan with butter and set aside. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Use a large chef’s knife to cut the babka into slices 1 inch thick. Lay out the slices on the prepared baking sheet and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Dip the babka slices, one slice at a time, in the egg mixture. Coat both sides for about 30 seconds or so, allowing the babka slice to absorb some of the egg mixture without getting too soggy or falling apart. Repeat with all of the slices, placing them back on the parchment-lined baking sheet while you finish.
4. In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted, add two slices of babka and fry, turning once, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Be careful that the heat isn’t too high to avoid burning the babka slices. Transfer the browned slices to your prepared loaf pan, lining up the slices to re-create the original loaf shape. Continue heating 1 tablespoon of butter at a time in a pan and browning the babka slices in batches, two slices at a time, and transferring them to the loaf pan. Use all of the French toast slices to fill the loaf pan.
5. If serving right away, place the loaf pan in the oven, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes longer. This will heat up all the slices to the same temperature and make them nice and toasty. Serves 8-10.
Kim Kushner’s third book, “I ♥ Kosher: Beautiful Recipes from My Kitchen” (Weldon Owen), will be released in November. She has two previous best-selling books, “The New Kosher” (Weldon Owen) and “The Modern Menu,” (Gefen Publishing). She has appeared on “The Today Show” and been featured in The New York Times, Saveur, The Huffington Post and the Chicago Tribune, among others.
The Nosher food blog offers a dazzling array of new and classic Jewish recipes and food news, from Europe to Yemen, from challah to shakshuka and beyond. Check it out at www.TheNosher.com.