Monday, November 21, 2016

Simply Amazing Make Ahead French Toast Casserole

This recipe is a combination of several casserole recipes.  Easy to make the day before, leave in refrigerator overnight while all the ingredients blend in a heavenly fashion, add streusel mix and bake the next morning.  Your guests will be amazed and delighted.  Easily serves 12.

1 loaf Challah bread, cut into 1-inch cubes--you must use a substantial bread like Challah or Brioche.
         (Buy the bread in advance, cube and let sit out to get stale, 6-12 hours works great)  
8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
2 Tbs sugar
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cup whole mile
2/3 cup half-and-half (you can use all whole milk)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tsps vanilla
Optional Streusal Topping
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 Tbsp cinnamon
6 Tbs. cold butter, cut into very small chunks
1/2 cup+ Granny Smith Apple, peeled, sliced thinly, and cut into small chunks

Butter a 13 x 9 glass baking dish.  Place bread crumbs in baking dish.
In bowl of electric mixer outfitted with whisk attachment, beat softened cream cheese with sugar at medium speed till fluffy and well-combined.
Add in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
Add in milk/half-n-half, maple syrup and vanilla, beat until well combined.
Pour the cream cheese mixture over the bread cubes in the baking dish, using a spoon, lightly lift the cubes so they are evenly coated with cream cheese mixture.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  (At least 8 hours).
Take out of refrigerator for about 30 minutes prior to baking.

Preheat oven to 350
Make Streusal:  mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon together in small bowl until well combined.  Add chunks of butter and blend with two forks or pastry blender until well combined.
Remove plastic wrap from bread pudding, ever so slightly, press top of bread down with fork or spoon just to get some of liquid cream cheese mixture to the surface.  Sprinkle with chopped apples and top with streusal.*
Bake 45-50 minutes until top is brown.  Serve with warm maple syrup.

* You can skip streusal and just sprinkle powder sugar over the top when you take it out of oven.  You could also add nuts or raisins to the top, or substitute berries for apples.

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