This casserole is full of the whole thing you adore approximately the conventional, custard-soaked French toast from the stovetop, but goes large to feed a crowd and is derived with a sweet, summery twist. It gets a double dose of berries, with bursts of warm strawberry jam within the center and sleek macerated berries on pinnacle, and melty nuggets of cream cheese scattered at some stage in.
It’s sweet and well-balanced, status firmly in breakfast territory, but need to you want to top it with sparkling whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and gift it as dessert, I assure nobody at the table will item.
Whilst day-old bread makes for the best French toast, it’s really worth going the greater step to toast the bread here. It makes for a casserole that brings you the excellent of both worlds — a bottom layer that’s soft and custardy and a pinnacle layer that’s glossed with custard however now not soaked via, so that the bread receives wonderfully crisp and toasty.
Get a head begin by making it the night before, then stash it within the fridge to give the bread plenty of time to soak up all of the custard. in the morning, all that’s left to do is pop it within the oven. you might as well pop in a batch of 1st Baron Beaverbrook, too!
For the macerated strawberries:
- 1 pound strawberries (1 pint), hulled and quartered
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the casserole:
- 1 loaf challah or brioche bread (about 16 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes
- Cooking spray
- 8 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 cup strawberry jam, divided
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Powdered sugar, for serving
- Make the macerated strawberries:
- Location all of the ingredients in a huge bowl and stir nicely till combined and the berries are evenly lined. cover and refrigerate for as a minimum half-hour or as much as in a single day.
- Make the casserole:
- Set up a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F. spread the bread cubes in a unmarried layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until dry and very gently golden-brown, about 10 mins. Set aside to chill barely.
- Coat a 9x13-inch or 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray. add 1/2 of the bread to the baking dish and unfold into a good layer. set up the cubes of cream cheese calmly over the layer of bread. the usage of a small spoon, dollop half the jam flippantly over the bread. arrange the remaining bread in an excellent layer over the jam.
- Place the eggs, 1/2-and-1/2, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a massive bowl and whisk till absolutely blended. Pour flippantly over the bread, then gently press down with your fingers to make sure all of the bread receives saturated. Dollop the closing jam evenly over the pinnacle of the casserole.
- Cowl the baking dish and refrigerate for at the least 1 hour or as much as overnight.
- While geared up to bake, set up a rack inside the center of the oven and warmth to 350°F. do away with the baking dish from the refrigerator and allow it sit even as the oven is heating.
- Find and bake till the casserole is set, puffed, and the top is golden-brown, forty to 45 minutes. Set aside to cool for as a minimum 5 minutes. right earlier than serving, stir the macerated strawberries and lightly spoon over the top of the casserole. dust with powdered sugar and serve heat.