August 31, 2009

Recipe: French Toast Casserole

This bad boy is breakfast dessert. Eggs and cream and sugar and butter transform white bread into a delicacy that begs for seconds. Drawing on inspiration from a French toast casserole I had at boat church a few years back (that I remembered had Grand Marnier), I whipped this out on a whim to prepare something a little different for community group breakfast night. 

It gained rave reviews on the buffet line alongside stellar omelets, pancakes and potatoes. There are lots of recipes for French toast casserole out there, but the prospect of the sinful tastiness of this recipe from a weird user-generated site called Squidoo convinced me that it was to be my guide.

French Toast Casserole

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons corn syrup

8- to 9-inch round loaf country-style bread

5 large eggs

1 1/2 cups half-and-half

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon Grand Marnier (I didn't want to spend $40 on a bottle just to use one teaspoon, so I substituted orange juice.)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Powder Sugar

In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 13x9-inch baking dish.

Cut six 1-inch thick slices from center portion of bread, reserving ends for another use, and trim crusts.

Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.

In a bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 350° F. and bring bread to room temperature.

Bake bread mixture, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Garnish with powdered sugar if desired.

Serve hot immediately.


  1. I wish I had read this before labor day! Forrest's parents came to visit and on their last day in town we made them brunch. The bread & sugar part of brunch was an oven-baked pancake, but it wasn't as big and certainly doesn't look as good as this does. The upside is that the pancake uses, like, 2 ingredients. Here's the recipe, from


    * 3 large eggs
    * 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    * 1/2 cup milk, preferably whole
    * 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    * 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    * 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    * 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)
    * 1/2 cup fruit jam (optional)
    * 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar


    1. Heat oven to 400° F. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs to combine. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Add the milk, salt, and vanilla and mix until incorporated; set aside.
    2. Add the butter to a large cast-iron skillet and transfer to oven until the butter melts. Remove from oven and quickly pour the batter into the hot skillet. Return to oven and bake until the pancake is puffed and golden, about 15 minutes.
    3. Drizzle the lemon juice (if using) over the pancake. Spread the jam (if using) evenly over the top. Sprinkle with the confectioners' sugar.

    I don't have a cast-iron skillet, but fortunately I have quality cookware (thanks mom!) so all my pots & pans are oven-proof. I think if you don't have an oven-proof skillet you could just stick the batter in a baking dish and get the same result. I skipped the lemon juice because I was afraid it would make it soggy.


  2. Thanks for sharing, Marian!

    I made a variation of this one time in an 8x8 glass dish from a recipe from a postcard from a relator. The recipe had you top it with strawberry yogurt and strawberries, and it was nice and light and fruity.


Pretty please share your thoughts!