Filled with cinnamon and pecans and topped with maple syrup or powdered sugar this is the perfect breakfast dish any time of year, but I love to serve this during the holidays when the house is filled with family and friends. Since this can be assembled the night before and then popped in the oven the next morning while everyone enjoys a mimosa or glass of orange juice this is a great dish when hosting house guests or for any brunch or breakfast gatherings French Bread casseroles are super easy to make and are very versatile. Once you have the basics down you can use your imagination to make your own special French toast casserole. French Toast Casseroles are one of my favorite go-to stress-free breakfast or brunch dishes. It's easy to make and always delicious.
1 1/2loavesof egg bread - challah or brioche or croissants
powdered sugar - optional
French Toast Casserole
Use day-old challah or brioche bread sliced 1/2 inch thick. Arrange slices in a buttered 4-quart baking dish, overlapping slices as necessary.
In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, and pour 1/2 of the mixture over the sliced bread and let sit for about 20 minutes. Keep bread and egg and cream mixture cold while you let the bread rest.
The bread will absorb most of the cream mixture. After 20 minutes add more cream mixture so that the is just a little bit in the bottom. Cover dish tightly with cling wrap. Reserve any remaining mixture and refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
If the casserole seems too dry add a little of the reserved cream mixture.
Bake in a 350 degree F. preheated oven for 30 minutes. Top casserole with pecans and cook for an additional 15 - 30 minutes or until top is golden brown and custard is firm. Check center of your bread pudding with a skewer to make sure the center is cooked and set. The skewer should come out clean.
Dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm maple syrup on the side. Serve the casserole hot.
Stress-free Entertaining Options:
It's really important to keep eggs, cream, and milk very cold while assembling this dish the night before. Then cover tightly and store in the coldest part of the refrigerator overnight. Cook The Day Before:The french toast casserole can be baked one day in advance. Reduce cooking time by 10 minutes - cook it just until eggs are set. Before reheating, combine 1⁄2 cup milk and1⁄2 cup cream in a bowl and stir - you may not need a full cup. Only use as much as you need to remoisten the casserole. Drizzle it over the bread slices. Bake 25-30 minutes in a 325-degree oven. Serve hot.