Get your Easter Feast hopping

Published 5:00 pm Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Here’s two great recipes for your Easter weekend. They are both starters. A Breakfast casserole to start your day and a Brie filled pastry for everyone to enjoy before the big Easter feast.

Baked French Toast Casserole

1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)

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8 large eggs

2 cups half-and-half

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

quarter teaspoon ground cinnamon

quarter teaspoon ground nutmeg

Dash salt

Praline Topping, recipe follows

Maple syrup

Slice French Bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 x 13 flat baking dish in two rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Beat with a whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:

half pound (2 sticks) butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

half teaspoon ground cinnamon

half teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.

Brie En Croute

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, pre-packaged

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

half cup pecans

one-eighth teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 (8-ounce) wheel Brie

quarter cup brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

Crackers, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Defrost puff pastry for 15 to 20 minutes and unfold.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the pecans in the butter until golden brown, approximately five minutes. Add the cinnamon and stir until pecans are coated well. Place the pecan mixture on top of the Brie and sprinkle the brown sugar over the mixture. Lay the puff pastry out on a flat surface. Place the Brie in the center of the pastry. Gather up the edges of the pastry, pressing around the pastry and gather at the top. Gently squeeze together the excess dough and tie together with a piece of kitchen twine. Brush the beaten egg over top and side of pastry filled Brie. Place Brie on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

Serve with crackers.