Recipes

Cook the Book: Have a Boozy Brunch with Chrissy Teigen’s French Toast Casserole

May 12, 2017

It ain’t easy when you’re a celebrity looking to dip your toes into the culinary world (see these lists for proof)—but one famed personality in particular struck the right chord with both her own existing followers and all-around food lovers alike. American model Chrissy Teigen is known for a number of things: her marriage to John Legend and her savage Twitter response to Trump’s inauguration last year, among others—but also her absolute love of food, which she regularly chronicles on her Instagram account as well as her own food blog, So Delushious. Just last year Teigen released her very own cookbook, aptly titled Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat—where she dishes on her favorite recipes, all written with hilarious anecdotes that are a testament to her feisty personality.

In spite of her high-profile status, Teigen maintains an attitude towards food that resonates with most of us mere mortals. “I wanted to be honest in this book about the kinds of food I love . . . [but] I just have to find ways to make those cravings work with my day job,” she admits in the book’s introduction. Neither a haughty Sex Dust-slurping Paltrow incarnate nor a diet-deceiver who insists they “eat anything” (but only in an effort to appear more #relatable), Teigen takes on a balanced and radically realistic approach, where the wholesome and ~gourmet~ (Roasted Cauliflower-Feta-Orzo salad, anybody?) meet the indulgent and junk-y (her Dump-and-Done Ramen Salad unabashedly calls for canned corn and instant ramen)—along with a chapter dedicated to Thai dishes (Pad Grapow and Jok Moo—a testament to her half-Thai ethnicity) and recipes that reference the special people in her life (her mom Pepper’s Scalloped Potatoes, plus a couple of dishes dedicated to her hub—John’s Chicken Wings, John’s Mac and Cheese), everything comes together into a coherent, personal, intimate-as-it-gets recipe collection.

Our pick? Her French Toast Casserole with Salted Frosted Flakes—in part because good GAWD it has Frosted Flakes (which goes by the name of Frosties, in these parts)but also because we think its so-wrong-but-so-right pairing of a heavily spiked, pudding-y bottom with a sinfully buttery topping (“it is inner-fat-kid madness,” says Teigen) well represents her own fab-yet-fun character. Apart from being a completely acceptable option for both breakfast and dessert, this recipe also appeals to both the child and the adult in us in that it pairs the nostalgia-inducing breakfast cereal (kicked up a notch by being tossed in butter and salt, yum) with the more grown-up addition of rum—a whopping half-cup of the stuff, to be exact, which we assure you, you will be able to taste AND feel. But for all of the recipe’s eyebrow-raising absurdity, what emerges from the oven is a wonderful dish where each part blends in seamlessly—and the salt adds a savory counterpoint that keeps you going back for more forkfuls of its moan-inducing, roll-your-eyes-back-in-pleasure levels of sweet-salty-rum-y goodness. (Heck, we may or may not have devoured the whole pan during our photoshoot—but no regrets.) Do take note that the recipe calls for an 8-hour long soak so that the bread fully absorbs the custard; be sure to plan ahead. (Better yet, go by Teigen’s suggestion: have this prepped right before your night of debauchery so it’ll be ready to cure the hangover that awaits the morning after. Genius.)


French Toast Casserole with Salted Frosted Flakes

Adapted from Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat by Chrissy Teigen
Yield: 8 servings
Time: 7 hours 30 minutes (30 min prep / 6 hours soaking / 1 hr baking)

Ingredients: Casserole base

  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 lb loaf French bread, cut into 1½-inch cubes
  • 8 eggs, large
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup spiced rum
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt

Ingredients: Topping

  • 3 cups Kellogg’s Frosties cereal
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ tsp salt

Procedure: Casserole base

  1. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and arrange the cubed bread in the dish.
  2. In a big bowl, whisk the eggs to combine, then whisk in the heavy cream, milk, rum, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture over the bread, pressing on the bread to help soak it in the custard. Refrigerate for 6-12 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Take the casserole out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Procedure: Topping

  1. In a bowl, combine the cereal, melted butter, and salt. Toss to coat. Spread the mixture evenly over the casserole.
  2. Bake until the topping is golden and the bread cubes peeking out of the top are crusty and toasty, 50-55 minutes.
Patricia Baes SEE AUTHOR Patricia Baes Trish thinks too much about everything—truth, existence.....and what’s on her plate. Her ongoing quest for a better relationship with food has led to a passion for cooking, gastronomy, and a newfound interest in its politics. She is a cheapskate in other aspects of her life, preferring to use her savings on specialty vinegars and degustation menus. While she admits to eating out too much, cooking and baking remain her first love, and she's always looking for quirky new ways to use up seasonal produce. Thanks to her obsession with (unnecessarily) making everything from scratch, she is now desperate to clear her fridge full of homemade condiments. She dreams of perfecting the art of making soufflé with her crappy toaster oven.
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