I absolutely love Yom Tov. I love everything about it. All of the spiritual aspects of the holidays aside, I also love the preparation. To me, the more I prepare for a holiday (most evidently seen for something like the prep that goes into getting ready for Passover), the more I revel in it once that serene moment comes a second after I have lit candles and know everything is done, because I have worked hard to make it that way. I love sitting down the week before and creating my menus, I love dreaming up cute tablescapes, I enjoy the "buzz" around town as all of the dedicated women and their husbands rush from store to store buying ingredients to prepare delicious food for the upcoming days, and that final trip to the store for the last minute things we need where you spot those you know picking out flowers to buy and brighten their home.
One of my favorite Yomtovim is Shavuos. (Ok, maybe I say this as each yomtov approaches). We spend 7 weeks, from Pesach counting the arrival of shavuot (literally meaning "weeks") until we arrive at the holiday where we renew our acceptance of the Torah, and our mandate as a Jewish people. In America it is spring, the blossoms are out, the green full trees are finally green again (even in Cleveland!) and there is a sweet smell in the air.
There is a tradition on Shavuos to eat dairy, which adds another fun element to this Yom Tov! I love making menus of dairy meals (think fried goats cheese, delicious flatbreads with fresh mozzarella, fresh salads, and more). But one of my favorite (easy and loved!) dairy meal menus is BRUNCH! Each year I like to make at least one of our day meals a "brunch" menu, filling the table with things like this delicious and easy french toast bake, quiches, muffins, blintz souffle, smoked fish, large jugs of iced coffee, fresh fruit, and of course... cheesecake!
This recipe is something I grew up eating as a little girl, a friend of my mother's used to make a similar version. The joy of this recipe is it takes minutes to prep, and then it's left overnight in the fridge to simply bake for one hour before eating the next day. This recipe is awesome for YomTov if you leave an oven on because it eliminates having to make it before yomtov as you prepare everything else. But, it can also be made ahead of time simply and reheated as well.
OVERNIGHT FRENCH TOAST BAKE
1 small day-old loaf French Bread (8-9 oz.) - You can also use Baguette
3 Tbl sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¼ cups milk
½ cup flour
6 Tbl brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup butter
1 Cup blueberries
1 Cup strawberries
Grease 13x9 baking dish
Diagonally cut bread into 1” pieces and place in baking dish
Lightly beat eggs, sugar and vanilla. Stir in milk.
Pour mixture over bread, turning slices to coat well.
Cover and refrigerate over night
In the morning:
Heat oven to 375.
In small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.
Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Turn bread slices over in baking dish.
Optional: scatter blueberries.
Sprinkle with crumb mixture.
Bake about 40 minutes until golden brown.
Optional: top with strawberries prior to serving.
Serve with Maple Syrup