Boxing Day Brunch Bake

Queen Victoria must have loved Christmas to have declared the following day as yet another holiday. Boxing Day, celebrated on The Feast of St Stephen, is an English tradition -- the one day of the year when household help was given a bonus and a full day off as a reward for providing good service throughout the year.

For upper class Victorian families it meant the kitchen help would prepare foods in advance that the mistress of the house could manage without much fuss. For modern Brits, the day of goodwill has evolved into a banker's holiday encouraging the search for post-Christmas shopping bargains. Either way what's needed is a good breakfast, easy to prepare and this amazing brunch treat can be refrigerated up to twenty-four hours before baking.

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/8 cup orange favored liqueur
1 tablespoon maple syrup
8 slices Portugese sweet bread, approx. 3/4 inch thick
2 cups half anf half
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Lightly grease bottom and sides of a 3 quart baking pan, oval or rectangular. In a medium saucepan, mix brown sugar, butter, liqueur, and maple syrup. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook uncovered for one minute. Pour into greased pan. Set bread slices on top of the brown sugar mixture.

In a medium bowl beat eggs, half and half, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg. Pour evenly over bread slices, using a wooden spoon to press bread gently as the bread soaks up the liquid. Cover and chill for at least one hour or up to 24 hours before baking at 350 degrees F. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a knife inserted into the midde of the pan comes out clean. The top should be golden brown and will pouf up a bit during baking. Allow to set 10-15 minutes before serving -- the puffiness will relax as the casserole sets. Makes 8 servings.

Add a side dollop of creme fraiche, a few of your favorite berries and enjoy.


  1. I love things I can make in advance--ESPECIALLY for brunch since I hate getting up early in the morning. Thanks, Deb.


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