When Maj. General William Tecumseh Sherman left Atlanta in November 1964, he wrote to Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant that he was going to “make Georgia howl.” Indeed, through the subsequent March to the Sea, the Northern army made Georgia howl in frustration and anger as the soldiers torched barns, homes and other buildings along the way to Savannah. Fortunately, despite the wide swath of flaming debris left in their wake, Sherman and his men could not be everywhere and there are many beautiful antebellum homes left standing throughout the state. A handful of these are located in Washington, Georgia, and one of them used to belong to my friend’s in-laws. The home was known for a while as Maynard’s Manor and functioned as a bed and breakfast.
This beautiful 1820 home was later sold to a young couple, Guillaume and Sokun, who changed the name to Lafayette Manor Inn. Sokun was a French-trained chef, so the couple established a gourmet restaurant as part of the inn. They enjoyed success for a few years before the economy forced them to close the doors. During this time, the inn was profiled in Southern Living magazine. It was while staying at Lafayette Manor on a girls’ weekend getaway that we first had Butternut Squash soup and Sokun gave away some of her cooking secrets.
Not only were we treated to the gourmet French cooking at the inn, we also experienced Southern hospitality at its finest at the home of my friend’s in-laws, the former owners of the inn. Though “Miss Louise” was no longer the proprietor of a bed and breakfast, she treated all of us ladies to a wonderful breakfast in her home, complete with traditional silver and china.
We were quite pampered, and enjoyed a delicious breakfast, including this croissant casserole recipe. The croissants are sliced and filled with an orange marmalade mixture, then baked in cream and eggs. It’s heavenly, orangey and buttery and we had to work not to make pigs of ourselves in such an elegant setting!
This is a wonderful easy do-ahead recipe that you can put together the night before and bake in the morning. Perfect for the holiday season when you want to serve something that looks special but requires little effort.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 6 croissants or as many mini croissants as it takes to line the dish
- 9 ounce jar orange marmalade
- 3 ounces orange juice
- 5 eggs
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
Strawberries and mandarin orange slices to garnish
Cut croissants in half lengthwise and place bottom halves in buttered 9×13 inch casserole dish.
Stir orange juice into marmalade and spread over each croissant half, leaving a little to glaze the top.
Replace croissant tops. Beat eggs, cream and extracts with a wire whisk until well blended and pour over top of croissants. Spoon the rest of the marmalade over the top of the croissants.
Cover and soak overnight in refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator about 45 minutes before baking and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
Perfect! You will love how easy this dish is to prepare and your guests will be impressed, especially if you call it by the correct name — Croissant a l’Orange. We usually just say, “that orange croissant dish,” because we are Southern and don’t know how to pronounce fancy French names. Either way, it’s delicious.