Pull up a chair and put on your eating pants because tonight I’ve got, quite possibly, the most delicious recipe I’ve ever shared on the blog.
Yes, that is quite the statement, but let me put it this way: this dish brought down the house.
Allow me to introduce the beautiful, delicious and attention-grabbing OVERNIGHT FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE!
I made this for a brunch that my boyfriend hosted with a few of our friends the other weekend, and believe me when I tell you – it was the hit of the meal.
I collected some quotes, that I’m using with permission, of course.
“This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten!”
“It doesn’t even need syrup!”
That’s right – it doesn’t even need syrup.
Why? Not because it’s too sweet….but because it’s like CUSTARD.
BECAUSE YOU MAKE IT AHEAD THE NIGHT BEFORE!!
OK – here’s the scoop.
The night before your brunch or breakfast, you’re going to make the egg custard, just like like you would for french toast, and the then you soak the bread in the custard all night. So it becomes almost like a bread pudding/custard consistency. It is positively divine.
But the most important thing, is to use really good, CRUSTY bread. The older the better — that’s becuase then it really REALLY soaks up all of the custard goodness. (Think of an old sponge).
I went to this cute little Scandinavian bakery and got their “hearth bread” – it’s like wood fired bread. Oh my gosh, the most crusty.
So it made exquisite french toast.
No, this is not gluten free. Or vegan. And I’m not going to sit here and try and pretend it’s healthy either: it isn’t.
It’s a decadent treat for a special occasion.
But something tells me that you might start making up holidays just to have an excuse to make this dish. I won’t judge!
Here’s What You Need: (Serves 9-12 people)
Butter, for greasing the pan
1 loaf of crusty, preferably day-old French bread or sourdough
8 whole eggs
2 cups whole milk (DON’T USE SKIM, 2%….use whole!)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (I told you it was good!)
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of nutmeg
1 stick of cold butter, cut into pieces
Good, grass-fed butter
Warm maple syrup
Fresh blueberries and strawberries
9×13 inch baking dish
Large mixing bowl
Measuring cups and spoons
THE NIGHT BEFORE:
Grease the baking dish with butter. Tear your loaf of crusty bread into chunks or cut into cubes, and evenly distribute in your prepared baking dish.
In a large bowl, crack the eggs and whisk together with the milk, cream, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread. With a spoon, make sure that every single corner of every bread chunk has been saturated in the egg mixture.
Cover the pan tightly with cling wrap and tin foil, and store in the fridge until brunch or breakfast the next morning.
For the Streusel:
In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Stir together with a fork. Then, add the cold butter and, either with a pastry cutter, two knives, or your hands, mix it all together until it resembles fine pebbles. (See below.) Store in a ziplock bag in the fridge.
THE NEXT MORNING:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the casserole from the fridge and sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture (which is what I did), or for one hour for a more firm, crisp texture.
Serve each portion with butter and berries, and an optional drizzle of maple syrup!
Oh my, my, my. When I tell you that this was a show-stopper, I mean it! I mean, taking this thing out of the oven, you’d think I was about to present the Heisman Trophy or something! You could hear a pin drop, people were so enraptured!
First of all, the tantalizing SMELL coming out of that oven was enough to have you drooling!
The browning butter and caramelizing sugar, the rich vanilla and spicy cinnamon — it was enough to bottle and sell as a candle!
And the textures were incredible. The streusel was this perfect shell of candied sugar and flour and cinnamon. But then the BREAD! There were little edges that were toasty and a little crispy, there were bits that were a little chewy, but then the center was gooey and rich like the most decadant bread pudding you’ve ever had in your life.
And I think the biggest testimony to that, was that we had warm, pure maple syrup from Maine available, and NO ONE USED IT! They all said it was absolute perfection without it!
People had seconds – and thirds. When the brunch was over the entire thing was completely demolished!
So, do yourself a favor and MAKE THIS DISH! I promise you, it will be the best thing you eat all year. I’m not kidding. You owe it to yourself!
Talk to you tomorrow!
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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