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Huh? There was a news report of some guy whacked out on bath salts eating some other dude’s face off in the street today? Hurmmmm, there was a piece in the paper about a lady being mauled to death by an unidentified wild animal in a nearby park?
Welcome to the zombie apocalypse! Tomorrow is a big day: you will be losing your head (hopefully not literally) trying to fend off the newly infected. On top of that, those pesky little weak spots in your fortress will surely present themselves, leaving you overwhelmed with survival and physical defense–focused activities.
Before you go to sleep tonight (if it even seems safe to do so), why not plan ahead for breakfast? Not only will it help use up some of your perishables (milk, eggs, butter, bread) before the power goes out, it will also give you a calorie-rich jumpstart to your undead-filled day.
If the power has already gone out, reduce the amount of time you soak the bread to a couple of hours and use an Oven Hack (page 41) to cook this bad boy.
Overnight of the Living Dead French Toast
Requires: Chef’s or survival knife and cutting board
1 bread knife
1 small mixing bowl
1 mixing spoon
1 fireproof baking dish (preferably 7″ x 11″)
1 large bowl
1 whisk (or fork)
Piece of foil, to cover baking dish
Heat Source: Indirect, conventional oven or other Oven Hack (page 41)
Time: 10 minutes prep
4–8 hours inactive soaking time
35 minutes unattended cooking time
1/4 c. (4 tbsp.) butter, melted
1/2 c. brown sugar
12 oz. bread (challah, raisin, French baguette, Wonder—whatever you got, preferably a mix of several different kinds), sliced into strips 2–3 fingers wide
1/2 c. dried cranberries or raisins
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 1/2 c. milk, cream, or combination
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp. rum, orange liqueur, or brandy (optional)
1 c. nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds), roughly chopped and preferably toasted
Maple syrup, to taste
1. Mix together the melted butter and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl. Spread the mixture along the bottom of the baking dish.
2. Put down a layer of bread fingers, overlapping and filling gaps where needed. Sprinkle with dried fruit. Repeat with remaining bread and fruit.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and granulated sugar together until the sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute. Add the milk/cream, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, pinch of salt, and liquor/liqueur (if using). Whisk until incorporated.
5. Pour the custard over the bread and dried fruit, sweeping back and forth to moisten the whole top layer, filling any nooks and crannies. Cover with foil and let sit for 2 hours (no refrigeration) or at least 4 hours to overnight (in the fridge).
6. Preheat oven (for perhaps the last time!) to 375°F or set up an Oven Hack (see Judging Temperature, page 41).
7. Remove foil from the baking dish and sprinkle with the toasted nuts (if using). Drizzle lightly with maple syrup.
8. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, then cover and bake for another 15 minutes to avoid over-browning. Check after 20 minutes or so—cooking time will vary widely depending on your setup.
9. The French toast is ready when the custard at the center feels set (i.e., not jiggly, squishy, or raw). Let stand for 5–10 minutes, then drizzle liberally with more maple syrup before tucking in.
Dried Fruit Substitution: Nearly any dried fruit can be used in place of cranberries or raisins in this recipe; cherries or apples work well as direct substitutions. If using other dried fruits (say, apricots or anything tropical), I would also adapt the spices accordingly, swapping cinnamon and nutmeg for lemon zest or lemon oil extract, for example.
Recipe illustration, author portrait credit & cover illustration: Kristian Bauthus
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Remember, we’re giving away a copy of Lauren’s cookbook at KEVIN & MATT GEEK OUT ABOUT ZOMBIES.
A two-hour feast of zombie film footage and pop culture commentary.
With presentations by
- Heather Buckley (Fangoria, Dread Central)
- Daan Van Versendaal (Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience)
- Brian Solomon (The Vault of Horror)
- Captain Cruella (Village Invasion Zombie Crawl)
- Doug Sakmann (Special FX Artist)