Overnight Blueberry French Toast

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Another French toast casserole?  ANOTHER one?

Frankly?  Yes.  They’re good.  And they’re easy.  Did I mention they were good?  And easy?

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I thought this one from Chef in Training would appeal to the bread loving members of the Pie’s family for their special housewarming brunch last weekend.  I adapted it a little, of course, as I am wont to do.  The easiness of the recipe was especially important, given that our bedroom at the time looked like this:

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So while our housewarming party didn’t show our house at its best, at least the food was good.

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So start with some bread.  The recipe maker likes to use 12 slices of Texas Toast, but I used a small loaf of crusty French bread that I had left out to get a bit stale.

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Cut the bread into cubes.

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Take a 8oz / 250g package of plain cream cheese and cut that into cubes as well.  I found it was easiest to slice it into chunks and then pull the chunks apart with my fingers.

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Grab yourself as well 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (the original recipe called for 1 cup but you know me).

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Now, crack 12 eggs into a bowl.  Give them a good whisking.

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Add 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1 tablespoon vanilla, and 2 cups cream to the eggs.

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Ready for assembly?  Generously butter a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and line the bottom with half your bread cubes.

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Evenly distribute the blueberries and cream cheese chunks on top of that.

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Then finish off with the rest of the bread.

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Carefully pour the egg mixture over the entire top of the casserole.  Or don’t do it carefully and spill it everywhere — it’s your choice, really.

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Gently squish the bread bits down so they absorb the eggy stuff.

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Cover the baking dish with foil and shove it in the fridge overnight.

Why not start on the blueberry syrup? You can make this syrup ahead of time and reheat it, or right before serving.

In a medium-sized pot, dump 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and 2 tablespoons cornstarch.  Heat on medium, stirring frequently, until smooth and thick.

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Add in 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries and continue to cook, stirring, for another 10 minutes, until the blueberries have all burst and the sauce is thick and purple.

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Tip in 1 tablespoon butter and stir that until it’s all melted.  You are now ready to serve the syrup.  If you’re going to make this the day before, let it cool completely before just putting the whole pot in the fridge.  That way it’s easier to reheat it the next day.

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To bake the French toast, preheat your oven to 350°F.  Leave the foil on the dish and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for a further 30 minutes.  Serve with syrup and enjoy!

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The Egg Monte Cristo

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When I saw this recipe on Design*Sponge a while back, I remember thinking, I don’t know what that is, but it sure looks good.  After finally getting around to making it, I know that it tastes as good as it looks.  I’ve never had a classic Monte Cristo, but this recipe has given me a new appreciation for fried sandwiches in general, so that *could* be next on my list.  In any case, this adaptation of an original is tops.  It’s fantastic as both breakfast AND lunch (and probably your evening meal, too, though I wouldn’t eat this more than once a day if I were you).

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This version of the recipe requires you to refrigerate the sandwich prior to frying it, so make sure you give yourself enough time.  If you’re planning it for breakfast, try making it up the night before and chilling it overnight — and be sure to make enough to share!

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Start with some nice bread.

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This is a rustic sourdough.  I like sourdough.

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For each sandwich, spread two slices of bread generously with apricot jam.  Apricot jam is my favourite, so this is one of the reasons I decided to try this recipe.

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Then, on one side of your sandwiches, spread some soft plain goat cheese (chèvre).  On the other, artistically drape a few slices prosciutto (the original calls for ham, so you could use that if you prefer, and for those of you who are kosher or halal, there is another variant with deli turkey, or forego the meat altogether).

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For each sandwich, you’re going to need 1 egg, fried over easy.  I’m not very good at frying eggs neatly but I did okay with these ones.  Feel free to season with salt and pepper.

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Carefully lay your fried egg on top of one side of your sandwich, then just as carefully lay the other side of the sandwich over top.

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I may have pressed too hard.  Oops.  Wrap the sandwich in Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.  I guess you do this so everything congeals together before frying.

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When you’re ready to eat, you need to make yourself some batter.  For each sandwich, you’ll need 1 egg, 2 tablespoons milk (I used cream to be extra luxurious and it was SO worth it), and a sprinkling of cinnamon (two sandwiches, two eggs, etc.).  Whisk that all together.

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Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a hot skillet (I used the same one I fried the eggs in).  If you think that’s a lot of butter, keep in mind that some versions of this sandwich are DEEP FRIED, so count your blessings.

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Carefully dip both sides of each sandwich into the batter.

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Set it in the skillet to fry in the butter.  It truly smells fantastic.

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Flip (carefully) and cook the other side as well.  You want the outside to cook enough that the inside gets all warm and gooey, but not so much that it burns.  This all depends on your skillet and stove and the thickness of your bread.  You’ll just have to experiment with timing and temperature.

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Eat it piping hot.  Fantastic with a cup of coffee and a glass of cranberry juice.  Very filling!

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Cinnamon Croissant French Toast

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Sometimes our grocery store has a deal on fresh-baked croissants, and the Pie and I have a hard time resisting.  The problem is that the deal more often than not necessitates buying WAY more croissants than two people can eat within a reasonable span of time, and we end up with stale croissants by the end of it.  And I HATE wasting food.  So when I found this recipe, which I adapted for two croissants and half the sugar, I was sold.  You will need a bit of advance notice for it, so it’s a good idea to do the prep work the night before, and then chuck it all in the oven just in time for the ones you love to wake up and enjoy a hot breakfast treat.

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Take a small casserole or loaf pan and butter it generously.  Take 2 stale croissants and tear them into bite-sized pieces and dump them in the buttered casserole.

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Whisk together 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 2 tablespoons yogurt (I used vanilla), and 2 tablespoons sugar.

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Pour all that goodness over the croissant pieces, cover the dish and refrigerate it overnight.

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Next morning, while you’ve got your kettle on for coffee or tea or cocoa or whatever it is you drink in the morning that is hot, preheat your oven to 350°F and haul your milky, eggy croissant pieces out of the fridge.

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In a bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and a teaspoon or two ground cinnamon.

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Mix into that about 3 tablespoons butter, until you get a nice crumbly substance.  Use your hands or a pastry blender or whatever you want.

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Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the croissant pieces and chuck it in the oven for 30-45 minutes, depending on how crispy you want it to be.

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I did the whole 45, and mine puffed up delightfully.

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Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving, as this stuff is MOLTEN.

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Drizzle with maple syrup and enjoy.  Serves two.

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