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Oven-Baked French Toast

Dutch Baby Pancake

By Barbara Beltrami

When was the last time before the coronavirus quarantine that you and your family had breakfast together, except maybe on Sunday morning? How long has it been since everyone didn’t bolt out the door, coffee cup or bagel in hand and dash off? Late for work, late for school, just plain late and barely time for a goodbye. Along with the many togetherness opportunities afforded us by our domestic isolation, weekday breakfast has got to be the most novel. It’s a chance to whip up a batch of special pancakes, French toast or a savory breakfast hero; a time to let the aroma of sizzling bacon and fresh coffee waft upstairs or down the hall to lure the rumpled late sleepers to the table for conversation, monosyllabic as it’s likely to be, and to get to know each other in a relaxed morning mode.

Dutch Baby Pancake

Dutch Baby Pancake

YIELD: Makes 2 to 4 servings


2 eggs

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup milk

Pinch nutmeg

Pinch cinnamon

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar


Preheat oven to 475 F. Place heavy 10” skillet in oven to heat. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until frothy; then whisk flour, milk, nutmeg and cinnamon into eggs. Lower oven to 425 F. Remove skillet and swirl butter to completely coat bottom and sides. Pour batter into hot skillet; place back in oven and bake 20 minutes or until golden and puffy. Remove from oven, slide pancake onto warm plate and sift confectioners’ sugar on top. Serve immediately with hot coffee and fresh fruit.

Oven-baked French Toast

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


6 jumbo eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 loaf challah, cut into 1” slices

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 250 F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, maple syrup and salt. Transfer to large shallow dish. Soak bread slices, as many at a time as will fit, in egg mixture, turning once, until both sides are well coated and soaked. In large skillet, heat one tablespoon butter and one tablespoon oil over medium-high heat; add bread and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 3 to 5 minutes; transfer to cookie sheet and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining butter, oil and bread. When all slices are cooked, serve immediately with maple syrup, honey, jam or preserves or powdered sugar.

Breakfast Hero Ranchero

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings


1/4 cup olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, cleaned and diced

1 loaf Italian bread or French baguette, sliced lengthwise and toasted

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

1/2 pound bacon, fried and drained

4 to 6 eggs, scrambled

3 breakfast sausages, cooked, drained, sliced

Half a 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup Manchego cheese, shredded

1 cup tomato salsa

1 cup sour cream


In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, warm oil. Add onion and jalapeno and sauté, stirring often, over medium-high heat until onion is opaque and pepper is tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toast bread halves and assemble precooked ingredients. When bread is toasted, spread top half with butter, top bottom half with bacon, then eggs, sausage slices, beans, pepper and salt, cheese, salsa and sour cream. Place buttered top over fillings, press gently with heel of hand, slice into desired portions and serve immediately with citrus fruit and hot chocolate.