Like so many other things, I’ve never used a recipe for French Toast. My mom made it on Saturday mornings when we had surplus milk, eggs, and bread to use up. When making it for a crowd, I’ve made Baked French Toast Casserole, which is a little bit like a breakfast bread pudding. I had some leftover challah in the freezer from Rosh Hashanah, and the first snowy day of the season (in October!) seemed as good of a day as any to try out Challah French Toast (Barefoot Contessa Family Style, p. 187). You may be thinking, “Wait. She’s an Episcopalian. Why does she celebrate Rosh Hashanah? And who in her right mind has leftover challah?” You’re right. I’m an Episcopalian, in the upper Midwest, no less, and had never formally celebrated Rosh Hashanah before in my life. Some dear friends invited us over for their family celebration, and I volunteered to bring the challah. I was going to make it from scratch, but ended up ordering (way too much of) it from a bakery. I think I showed up with six loaves, just because I couldn’t possibly decide between the egg raisin, vanilla raisin, plain vanilla, plain egg… you get the idea. Our hosts were gracious about the extra loaves, but of course sent some home with me for the freezer. (I learned that night that challah, while usually oblong, is round for the Rosh Hashanah celebration, to acknowledge the circle of life and to celebrate the cycle of the new year.) I have to say, I think leftover/stale/day-old/formerly frozen bread is probably actually better than fresh challah for this recipe, since a little bit of dryness allows the custard of the egg and milk mixture to soak in. There’s orange zest in the custard mixture, which makes it oh-so-good. Unlike the french toast of my youth (and most recipes I’ve seen), this recipe did not call for cinnamon. As much as I love cinnamon, I think it would have competed too much here with the other flavors, especially the orange zest, so I didn’t miss it. This was a big hit all around, including with the picky toddler. Thankfully, there’s more challah in the freezer to make this again!