Every year for Christmas I make Baked French Toast for breakfast. This year I ended up sharing a photo around the holidays but I did not share the recipe. With all the stress and fast pace holiday activities, there was no time to write anything down. I also just found an easy recipe to duplicate that day to make it easy.
Now that I had the time and a smaller group of people I decided to take what I remember and finally create my own recipe for one of my all-time favorite breakfasts. I think I nailed it!
*Be warned, it is better if prepared the night before!
Baked French Toast
½ Loaf of French Bread, Sliced and Stale
1 ½ Whole Milk
1 Tbsp Pineapple Rum
½ Tsp Cinnamon
½ Tsp Ground Cloves
1 Tbsp Honey
⅛ Tsp Vanilla
¼ Tsp Salt
1 C Brown Sugar
½ C Butter
2 Tbsp Corn Syrup
¼ Tsp salt
1 Tbsp Orange Zest
¼ C Dried Cranberries
This recipe is much better when prepped ahead of time, I have whipped it together the day of and it was a little lackluster. Still good... but not as good as it could be. Take the time in preparation, you’ll be thankful.
Our first step is to stale the bread, fresh bread will act like an eager sponge and will lose all of its texture and form too easily. By staling it, we are giving the bread a chance to hold up to all the liquid.
Early in the day (the day before you serve breakfast) slice your loaf at an angle and layout on your counter, exposed to the air for a few hours. Let the bread dry out, flip once to expose the other side.
We are going to assemble the dish the night before, it honestly can be very nice to have all the hard work over and out of the way before your guests arrive, you can get a good night sleep with no extra worries. Since I make this for Christmas traditionally you can bet I don’t need the stress of actually cooking breakfast Christmas morning. All I need to do it pop it in the oven and simply wait with a nice strong cup of coffee.
In a large bowl combine and mix milk, eggs, rum, spices, honey, vanilla, and salt.
In a baking dish (mine was a 9”x6” oval ramekin) arrange your slices so half of the bread is in the dish and the other half is sticking up. I stand my slices on their ends because I like more crunchy bits in my french toast. This task can sometimes be maddening… the slices slip and fall and just don’t want to corporate. Tap someone in for help. I have to have someone hold my pieces in place as I set in more slices. It’s a group effort really.
Pour mixture over your bread, hit all areas so they can soak up the liquid. Cover with foil and place in the fridge overnight.
Fast forward to the next morning! Take that french toast out of the refrigerator and allow the baking dish to come to room temperature.
Preheat your oven for 350℉ and place a rack in the middle of the oven.
While your oven is heating up we are going to make a caramel topping. In a small saucepan melt ½ C of butter and brown sugar with corn syrup, salt, and orange zest. Stir occasionally until all the sugar crystals are smooth.
Pour caramel over the top of your french toast and sprinkle with dried cranberries. Bake for 45 minutes or until the tops are crispy and the bottom resembles custard.
Allow to cool before digging in! I swear, it does not even need syrup!