- 3 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for buttering casserole dish
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
- 6 cups cubed brioche, challah or French bread
Select a heatproof casserole dish that fits level inside your pressure cooker (a 7-cup soufflé dish or round Pyrex container works well). Butter the bottom and sides of the dish generously. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, eggs, half and half, sugar, salt, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the cubed bread. Mix well. Place the mixing bowl in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the egg mixture. (Note: The base can be refrigerated overnight.)
While you are waiting, tear off an 18-inch piece of aluminum foil. Fold it in half lengthwise, then fold it in half lengthwise again so that you end up with a 3- by 18-inch band. Set aside.
Pour 1 cup of water into your pressure cooker. Set a rack or trivet on the bottom of the cooker.
Remove the French toast mixture from the refrigerator. Stir again, gently, to combine.
Spoon the chilled French toast mixture into the buttered casserole dish. Center the dish on the prepared aluminum band and carefully lower it into the prepared pressure cooker. Tuck the ends of the foil in so they don’t interfere with the seal. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
Turn up the heat to high (or set the pressure cooker to high). When the cooker reaches pressure, reduce the heat to the lowest setting that maintains pressure. Cook for 20 minutes. At the end of the cooking process, turn off the heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally.
Remove the lid and, using the foil band, carefully remove the casserole. If desired, you can brown the top under a broiler before serving. Serve with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote or your favorite syrup and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.