This overnight French toast casserole recipe is the ultimate entertaining brunch dish. Put it up the night before Christmas, Mother’s Day or whenever you have guests over and all you have to do in the morning is brush it with butter and bake it.
This version is all about creating a rich, pastry-like bread pudding experience balanced with textural hits of crunchy demerara sugar. To achieve this, we recommend using challah, brioche, or pullman on crispier French bread or sourdough bread. Cutting the bread into wide slices (instead of tearing it into 1-inch cubes) and toasting them on a baking sheet until golden brown and crisp first helps ensure that the pan of French toast will not fall apart completely. For the pastry cream, we opted for cinnamon, cardamom and orange zest for warmth and brightness, but if you prefer your egg mixture with vanilla extract and cinnamon for more cinnamon roll vibe works here too. To ensure the bread has time to absorb the egg and milk mixture, cover the casserole tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. (If you’re short on time, this classic French toast recipe comes together quickly.)
While the French toast is baking, whip up some tangy crème fraîche and maple syrup to go with it, although powdered sugar or toasted pecans are also fine. If you’re having a big party, try adding another breakfast casserole (like this cheesy egg bake with sausage) to the menu, or opt for one of these breakfast recipes that will appeal to everyone. the crowd.