Overnight Blueberry French Toast
This casserole has many virtues. First, it's delicious! It's also easy to make, as long as you do it the night before-- you want that vanilla and maple syrup custard to soak into the bread, yielding tender and moist French Toast. Bread is soaked, overnight, in a custard of egg, milk, maple syrup and vanilla. The next morning, it's baked for about an hour. In the meantime, a blueberry sauce is made (super easy). The result: Deliciousness! This version will feed about 8 hungry people. You can easily double the recipe.
- 4 thick slices brioche bread*
- 1 package cream cheese, cut into cubes)
- 1 cup fresh blueberries (frozen works fine, too)
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar (optional but we love it)
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (I use Instant Clear Jel)
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups fresh (or frozen) blueberries
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon butter
Preparation time 480mins
Cooking time 540mins
Adapted from afeastfortheeyes.net
*I buy Brioche buns at Whole Foods, because not only are they delicious, but they aren't horribly expensive. Using an "egg-based" bread will yield the best results. My second choice would be using a French bread that is stale. I don't recommend using plain white bread, but no matter what-- be sure that the bread isn't moist and fresh. Otherwise, you'll end up with gummy French Toast.
For the casserole:
Spray a 9x13-inch (I use an oval 11 x 9-inch dish) with non-stick spray
Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. Spread half of the bread into the pan, and then spread the cream cheese cubes. Note: I actually added all of the bread, then nestled the cream cheese cubes in between and sprinkled the blueberries throughout (rearranging them until I liked the way it looked.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top.
Whisk eggs in a bowl, add the milk, maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk until well combined.
Pour, evenly, over the bread and berry mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. (I set an oval plate on top to weight it down a bit.)
In the morning:
Remove the casserole and allow to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Replace the plastic wrap with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil, and bake for 30 minutes more-- or until it is set in the center and has a golden color.
In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar and cornstarch (or Instant Jel) together to evenly combine. Add the lemon zest. Add the water, while whisking (to prevent lumps). Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Add the blueberries (no need to thaw, if frozen), and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or so, or until the blueberries begin to pop. Keep on low heat until the casserole is ready.
Remove the casserole from the oven, and top with the blueberry sauce.
Be prepared for people wanting seconds!
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