This is my favorite take to a potluck brunch recipe. Easy to whip up the night before and bake in the morning. If I'm making it at home I lower the calories by using whole milk, rather than 1/2 and 1/2.
It's always on our table on Christmas Morning! I've used sourdough bread, without the crust, a baguette, with the crust and brioche bread from Trader Joe's and all turn out yummy.
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cube (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 8 - 9 inch loaf of sourdough bread, crust removed and cut in 1 inch slices
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 13 by 9 by 2 inch baking dish. Cut six !-inch thick slices from center portion of bread and trim crusts. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing slightly to fit. In a bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, Grand Marnier, vanilla and salt until well combined, pour evenly over bread.
Chill covered at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 350 F and bring bread mixture to room temperature.
Bake uncovered in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 - 40 minutes.