1 lb. loaf bread (baguette or challah, for preference)
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 - 1cup sugar (depending on your tastes, I use less)
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract, or one packet vanilla sugar
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
1 large or 2 small bananas, ripe
1/2 cup pecans, halved or chopped
2 Tbsp butter, melted
Extra sugar, nutmeg and/or lemon zest
1. Cut or tear bread into 1" pieces, and place on a cookie sheet in a slow oven to dry out, if bread is not stale.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). Whisk eggs, milk and sugar together into a bowl, adding more or less milk as necessary. Mixture should be a buttery yellow color.
3. Add lemon zest, vanilla, and grated nutmeg, and whisk again.
4. Pour 1/2 of the toasted bread cubes into a greased 13" x 9" baking pan (or a 9" casserole dish). Slice bananas onto the bread layer and sprinkle with pecans. Repeat layering of bread, banana and pecans, reserving a little of the bread for a top layer.
5. Pour the egg mixture over the bread layer gradually, making sure to moisten every piece of bread.
6. Sprinkle top of bread mixture with sugar and more grated nutmeg, and drizzle melted butter over the top.
7. Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let rest for 10 minutes; slice or scoop out and serve.