Unlike my husband (and, apparently, most of society), I’m not a big breakfast fan. He could happily eat breakfast foods for every meal; I’d be happy bypassing them all together. Aside from huevos rancheros and everything bagels with whitefish salad, I’m just not that into breakfast -- I’m the person who always walks past the omelet and waffle bar at brunch and go straight to the salads. Given my general anti-breakfast stance, I’m definitely not a fan of the traditional baked french toast casserole. I’ve tried a variety of recipes, and most of them are too sweet, either too dry or too soggy, and often involve cream cheese (a common theme I bring up in multiple posts: I loathe cream cheese in sweet things).
This baked french toast, however? It’s delicious, and that means a lot coming from someone who doesn’t like breakfast. It’s rich and decadent, without being overly sweet (I always serve it with a side of maple syrup for those who do like sweet breakfasts). It’s pretty enough to serve to guests when it’s baked in a springform pan. It’s a perfect way to showcase seasonal fresh fruit (peaches are my favorite, and so delicious this time of year!). It has more of a bread pudding like consistency than too-often dry french toast. And best of all, it’s a great way to use up leftover bread. I can never finish a loaf of bread before it get stale, so I wind up freezing quite a bit. The stale bread is perfect, easily soaking up the liquid. Challah is my favorite bread for this (though there are never leftovers when I bake a fresh loaf of challah!), but this time around, I used a package of frozen hamburger buns, left over from our 4th of July party. Even with bland, commercial bread, this is still a winner.
Baked Peach French Toast
Adapted from The Pastry Queen
- 1 loaf bread
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cup milk (any variety – I use nonfat)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- fresh fruit, for serving
- Cut bread into cubes and place in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the egg yolks, heavy cream, milk, sugar, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon and pour over the bread. Toss bread cubes until most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Pour into a greased 8- or 9-inch springform pan, and press down lightly on the bread to spread evenly. Refrigerate a few hours or overnight, until all liquid is absorbed into the bread.
- Bake at 325 for 30 minutes, until browned. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and remove the ring. Top with fruit and cut into 8 wedges to serve, along with maple syrup or powdered sugar.