Lemon Raspberry French Toast

(Note:  There are two steps to this recipe.  You will prepare the bread the night before, and bake it the following morning.  Plan your time accordingly.)

1 and 1/2 French bread loaves (Try to find loaves that are not super thin -- unsliced. )
8 eggs
1 3/4 cups half and half
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
zest from 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch salt
praline topping (recipe below)
1 cup fresh raspberries

The night before:

Cut the bread on the diagonal into 1 inch slices.

In a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish, arrange bread slices into rows with slices overlapping.

Combine eggs, 1/2-and1/2, milk, vanilla, sugar, zest, nutmeg and salt.  Whisk until blended.  Pour mixture over bread slices.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight so that the bread absorbs the liquid.

The morning you serve the French Toast:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Remove the bread from the refrigerator.
Make the praline topping:

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Karo Syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add brown sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and pecans.  Stir constantly until all the ingredients have dissolved.   Remove from heat.

Pour the praline mixture evenly over the French Toast slices.
Scatter raspberries over the top.
Place the French Toast in the oven and bake uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour, until puffed and golden brown.

Serve with Buttermilk Syrup (recipe follows).

Buttermilk Syrup (Make this the night before.)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon Karo Syrup
1/2  teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a large sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium.  Boil for 5 minutes stirring constantly.  (Be careful because if your pot is too small, the mixture will rise up and boil over.)   Remove from heat and mix in vanilla.    Refrigerate overnight, and reheat before serving.

Serves 6 to 8.

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