Christmas breakfast is always a big deal right? It’s one of those meals I look forward to all year. For Christmas breakfast we always have lots of fresh fruit, bacon, breakfast potatoes, fresh orange juice then something like Belgian Waffles or Red Velvet Pancakes. This year though I’d like to be able to make most of the main dish the night before so I’m going with this seriously delicious Overnight French Toast Casserole!
The base is made with sourdough bread, not the first thing you’d thick to make french toast with maybe but I started using sourdough for french toast about 10 years ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. The sourdough offers a nice slightly tangy flavor similar to that in buttermilk or sour cream pancakes. It just gives it more flavor overall because white bread can be pretty bland and boring.
With this recipe the fresh bread is diced up into cubes then soaked overnight in a rich custard that has plenty of that ever so creamy and lovely half and half. And the following morning all you have to do is take it out of the fridge, preheat the oven, sprinkle it with a simple cinnamon crumble and bake it up. Oh and let’s not forget finishing it with melted butter and maple syrup is a must! The casserole itself isn’t very sweet at all, the topping and the maple syrup bring almost all of the sweetness here so don’t leave them off. I didn’t want things to be overly sweet so once you finish it off with maple syrup it has the perfect balance of sweetness.
This tempting breakfast casserole is so good that I think you need to do one trial run before Christmas, right? This has all the goodness of French toast and then some and you’ll love that you can make it a the night before serving it, espeically if you aren’t a morning person like me.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday week filled with good times and good food!
Overnight French Toast Casserole
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup milk (anything but skim)
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 (14.5 - 16 oz) loaf sourdough bread, such as La Brea, cut into 1-inch slices then slices cut into 1-inch cubes*
- 2 Tbsp melted butter , plus more butter for baking dish
- Powdered sugar (about 1 tsp), for dusting top (optional)
- Real maple syrup or pancake syrup , for serving
- 1/3 cup (46g) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (78g) packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, cold and diced into small cubes
Butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Add bread cubes to baking dish spreading them into an even layer. In a mixing bowl with a pour spout** whisk together sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add in eggs and whisk until well blended, while scraping bowl. Pour in milk, half and half and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Slowly and evenly pour egg mixture over bread cubes working to coat all of them (if you miss a few just turn and dunk them into the custard that's in the dish). Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight, or at least 10 hours.
In the morning preheat oven to 350 degrees and while oven is preheating remove casserole from fridge and let rest at room temperature, it should rest about 15 minutes. Also, prepare crumble while oven is preheating.
For the crumble:
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add butter and cut into flour mixture using a pastry cutter or a long pronged fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, transfer to fridge if oven hasn't fully preheated yet then add it just before placing casserole in oven). Sprinkle casserole evenly with crumble then bake in preheated oven until set and center is cooked through and no longer soggy, about 38 - 45 minutes. Let cool a few minutes, pour melted butter over top, dust with powdered sugar if desired, then cut into squares and serve warm drizzling each serving with maple syrup.
*For easier, less messy cutting I just wrapped the bag to enclose the bread once I got home for the store and let it rest for a few hours until later that night - because usually when you buy a loaf of crusty bread it comes in a brown bag that isn't closed and it's a crusty crumbly mess to cut up the whole loaf into little cubes like so (or maybe that's just me because I'm in a dry climate). So wrap the bag closed if you didn't already buy it in a sealed bag and you'll have less crumbs everywhere and easier cutting.
**If you don't have a mixing bowl with a pour spout at the end mixing you can transfer the egg mixture to a liquid measuring cup with a pour spout and pour it from there.
Recipe source: Cooking Classy