I am debuting 2012 Holiday Season with a super easy, make ahead, yet indulgent french toast. It is super moist, crunchy, sweet with a hint of spice – basically an ideal marriage of french toast with bread pudding. One never seems to have enough hours during the holiday season. Whether it’s family visiting from out-of-town or friends getting together, there is always a lot of chaos and not enough time to create yet another wow meal to please your loved ones. This super easy baked French Toast is perfect for those rushed times. Constructing the entire dish a night before makes it so more convenient allowing you extra time to spend with your loved ones.
Sweet & Spicy Baked French Toast
This make ahead brunch dish is ideal for your holiday mornings with family and friends and a lavish start to your mornings with Mascarpone cheese and dried fruits. You can easily substitute the brioche for challah. Play with your favorite nuts and dry fruits…After all who doesn’t relish sweet-spicy for breakfast? I serve this dish with my candied bacon slices and some fresh brewed espresso.
- 1 whole brioche loaf or challah, sliced into 1 inch cubes
- 8 ounces mascarpone or regular cream cheese, diced into 1 inch cubes
- 1 cup pecans or walnuts
- 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp orange extract or zest of 1 orange
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- 1/2 cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 10 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 4 ounces butter, melted
To Serve: maple syrup and nuts.
- Coat baking dish of your choice with butter or olive oil. Spread half the cubes on a single layer in the pan. Top with cheese, nuts, raisins, and dry fruits. Layer rest of the bread cubes on top.
- In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, extracts, and all the ground spices. Evenly pour the egg mixture on top of the bread ensuring that all layers are moist. Cover with plastic foil and refrigerate overnight.
- Next morning, remove the baking dish from the fridge. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Top the bread with melted butter, cover and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for additional 20 minutes until the bottom is caramelized. Wait 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
- To serve, cut into squares, arrange on individual plates, and serve along with maple syrup and additional nuts. (Recipe adapted from Leite’s Culinaria).
Stay tuned for more mouth-watering baking inspirations to share with your loved ones this holiday season.