Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Baked French Toast

While I love cooking up a tasty brunch for my family, I also like to sit and enjoy a hot meal too. So many of my family's favorite breakfast items are of the a la minute style that keeps me chained to the stove while every else is enjoying a hot plate of food. When I found an overnight baked french toast recipe years ago, I knew it would become a staple for our brunches big and small.

I make it every Christmas morning using Italian Panatone bread which is like a Challah bread but is studded with dried fruit and is a bit sweeter. Other times of the year I use a round french boule but you can experiment and try whatever you like.

The premise of the dish to to take a bread that will soak up an egg mixture overnight and then when baked it turns into a crispy french toast. You can toss in nearly anything you like. I add rum to my liquid for extra flavor and I often toss in fruit as I put the baking dish in the oven. Once it is done, a sprinkling of confectioners sugar and a strawberry or two completes the plate. This year, I decided to make a maple flavored buttercream and put a dollop on each piece to melt into the french toast for a buttery maple flavor. The fruit I tossed in were matchstick nectarines. I know, I know. What the heck am I doing buying nectarines at this time of year considering where I live. I was desperate. They looked good. My body is craving summer fruit. Anyway, they are pretty hard and I don't have much hope they will ripen-up so I cut them into match-stick pieces to roast along with the toast.

13 x 9 baking dish

Bread of your choice (not pre-sliced)
6 eggs
1 cup of milk (not low-fat)
3 tbs sugar
3 tbs maple syrup
splash of vanilla
pinch of salt
confectioners sugar

glug of good rum
nuts or fruits for garnish

  1. Butter your baking dish well.
  2. Mix all (not the bread or confectioners sugar) the ingredients to make the egg mixture. Add the rum to this if you will be using it.
  3. Once well mixed, pour some onto the bottom of your baking dish- just enough to have a shallow layer of egg at the bottom.
  4. Cut bread into 3/4" slices and line your baking dish by settling the pices into the egg mixture you just poured onto the bottom of the pan.
  5. Pour the remaining egg mixture on top of the bread. 
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 400°. Take dish out of fridge to bring to room temperature. Drain off any excess liquid at bottom of pan before putting in oven. The toast should take about 20 minutes in the oven. You can flip the toast pieces half way through if you like.