As you all know I made Challah Bread earlier this week. Which if you’re a baker is a milestone in itself, what with the kneading(Thanking God and Sharon/Billy for Kitchenaid Mixer),and the rising, twice and the “mishagas” braiding, “OY Already! “Anyways, I have some left over so I was thinking, what about making some French Toast – and . . . well, one thing led to another and I was drawn into a swirl of thoughts of my father, Morton Joseph Green,or “Morty Joe”, as I liked to jokingly call him, a wonderful, creative man who loved to live life to its fullest, who made for me the delectable treat of cream cheese and jelly when I was very small. I thought it was just the best thing I’d ever had in my life, and that he was the most clever Daddy for having had the inspiration to combine these two items in a sandwich for me! So, being his clever daughter, I thought why not get creative and turn this simple treat into a masterpiece! So, that’s what I did!  This is put together the night before so in the morning, while enjoying your coffee (which you set for autobrew the night before, right?), this is in the oven baking away.So with the help of my Brother James (see pic),giving me a hand w/ this blog! YAY! I’m pretty sure our Daddy would have loved the whole concept!

Gather up:
1 loaf of stale bread, at least one day old (in this case Challah)
1 package Philadelphia cream cheese
1 jar  Smuckers apricot preserves
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 TBLS Unsalted Butter

Fresh Whipped Cream or Sour Cream
Line a 13x9x2″ pan with foil (save yourself the extra clean up!), grease pan.
Cover bottom of pan with slices of bread
Spreading bread with a generous amount of cream cheese as you go, place a piece of bread on top of each cream cheese-covered piece to make a sandwich, and snuggle them all in to the pan. (You can cut pieces as you go to fit ’em in.)
In a large bowl, whisk:
Eggs
Milk
Vanilla
Brown sugar
Cinnamon
Nutmeg

Pour the egg/milk mixture over all the cream cheese sandwiches and make sure all of them are covered, pressing down with a spatula until the top layer is moist and the bread has soaked up all the liquid.

Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning preheat the oven to 350º and bake covered for 30 minutes, remove and brush w/ melted butter, and bake uncovered for another 15-20 minutes or until, puffy, and golden brown.

When you take the casserole out of oven let it rest for 5 minutes to set. I mean, ten is better, but let’s get real, nobody at my house has ever been able to wait.

While it’s setting, in a small pan put as much apricot preserves as you think will need and melt over low heat.

Cut the casserole into squares and serve with melted Apricot Preserves, Whipped cream or Sour Cream on the side.

And as always enjoy!
LIVE,LOVE,LAUGH,COOK!!!
© Jennifer Green Alger 2009