Martina McBride’s Best Brunch Ever

Country star and cookbook author Martina McBride’s Sparkling Grapefruit Mimosa and Baked French Toast with Pecan Crumble and Blackberry Syrup from her cookbook Martina’s Kitchen Mix is a major hit with friends and family brunches. For the French Toast, she suggests making the pecan crumble and the blackberry-maple syrup a day ahead to save time in the morning.

Baked French Toast
Serves 8 to 10


For the baked French toast:
1 (16-ounce) loaf challah, sliced 1-inch thick
2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the baking dish
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup pecan halves
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For the blackberry-maple syrup:
1 (12-ounce) bag frozen blackberries, thawed, or fresh
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup pure maple syrup

For serving:
Confectioners’ sugar


1. Make the baked French toast: Spread bread on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit overnight.

2. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Arrange the bread slices, overlapping, in rows in the prepared dish.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and kosher salt. Pour over the bread, pressing the bread to help it soak in the liquid. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or overnight.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

5. In the base of a food processor, add the pecans, butter, brown sugar, and sea salt. Pulse until the pecans are coarsely chopped, about 5 or 6 times.

6. Scatter the pecan crumble over the soaked bread. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil. Bake until warmed through, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake until deeply browned and puffed up, 35 to 40 minutes.

7. Make the blackberry-maple syrup: In a 3 1/2-quart saucepan over medium heat, stir together the blackberries, lemon juice, and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, stirring occasionally, until the berries soften and slightly thicken, 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the maple syrup. Serve warm.

8. To serve: Serve baked French toast with blackberry-maple syrup and a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

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Sparkling Grapefruit Mimosas for a Crowd
Serves 10 to 12


2 cups freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (from about 4 grapefruits)
1/2 cup St. Germain (elderflower liqueur)
1/4 cup Campari
Grapefruit wedges, optional
Surperfine sugar, optional
1 (750-milliliter) bottle chilled Champagne (or sparkling wine)


1. In a large pitcher, combine the grapefruit juice, St. Germain, and Campari. Cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours.

2. Rub the rims of coupe glasses or Champagne flutes with a wedge of grapefruit, if using. Line a shallow bowl with a thin layer of superfine sugar, if using, and invert glasses into the sugar. Gently twist the glasses to coat the dampened rims in sugar.

3. Divide the chilled grapefruit mixture among glasses, and top with Champagne.


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