1 cup packed brown sugar
⅓ cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
⅓ cup chopped pecans
12 slices French bread, 1-inch thick (brioche or Challah also good)
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons orange liqueur (optional)
½ cup 2% milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for dusting
Grease a 9×13 baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, melted butter and corn syrup until combined. Pour into a greased baking dish and spread until evenly covered. Sprinkle the pecans of the sugar mixture, then add the bread slices, snugly packing into a single layer.
In a medium bowl, use a whisk to mix the orange zest, juice, liqueur (if using), milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and eggs. Whisk vigorously until well combined. Pour mixture over the bread and use the back of a spoon or your hands to gently press the bread slices to help absorb the liquid. Cover dish and refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dish and let stand at room temperature, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Bake in oven for 35 to 45 minutes until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.