Feast in heavenly peace

By Don Bingham

As the overwhelming and awe-inspiring season draws to a climax, we can all take a breath from the hustle of the holidays, and even a break from technology, to enjoy the quiet, the peace, the utter joy and appreciation of loved ones, both family and friends. 

Photo by Mike Kemp

To better enhance this start of what I call Christmas Peace (after all of the events, appointments, parties, parades, programs, gift buying and wrapping is done), what could be more inviting than a delicious and delightful, merry and bright Christmas brunch?

Part of the delight for the chef/cook is that most of this menu can be readied ahead of time, requiring much less energy to bake and enjoy on Christmas morning. This colorful and rich brunch will appeal to children, welcomed home guests, and yes, even the tired cook!

The Tres Leches French Toast, already prepared the night before, is baking in the oven after resting in the refrigerator overnight; the fruit is cut; the champagne sauce is ready to drizzle over the fruit; and the bacon is ready to cook in the oven.

May we all find peace in our hearts and minds this Christmas, celebrating the timeless story and glory of the Christ of Christmas!

Tres leches baked french toast

1 loaf French or sourdough bread cut 

in 20 slices (thickly, if desired)

8 large eggs

2 cups of half-and-half

1 cup of La Lechera sweetened, 

condensed milk

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Dash of salt

Praline Topping (recipe to follow)

Maple syrup

Arrange sliced bread in a 9 X 13 inch baking dish. Mix the next eight ingredients and pour over the bread. Refrigerate overnight. Make Praline Topping and spread on bread, then bake for 40 minutes at 350. Serve cut or spoon baked French toast in desired portions, then top with fresh whipped cream and drizzled syrup.

Praline Topping

1/2 pound softened butter • 1 cup brown sugar

1 cup pecans, roughly chopped • 2 Tbsp. corn syrup

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon •1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Fruit Parfait with lime and champagne sauce

6 limes • 1 cup granulated sugar

Rind of 2 limes

3 1/2 cups water • 1/2 cup sweet white wine or champagne

Slice limes, squeeze out the juice. Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and set aside to cool.

12 oranges and 6 grapefruit, sectioned

2 cans of chunk pineapple, drained

Long-stemmed cherries for garnish

Peel and section grapefruit and oranges; drain pineapple, toss together in a large bowl. Pour cooled sauce over fruit. Refrigerate overnight. Garnish with cherries if desired. Serves 8-10.