Baked Pain Perdu, French Toast Casserole

As I have mentioned before one of my favorite foods is French Toast. It is one of the foods I eat when trying to evaluate a diner. I have had many variations of French Toast over the years and to be honest I really can’t say I have a favorite, although there is a criteria that they must meet. I like my French Toast crispy on the outside and slightly creamy on the inside. Now I am sure we have all had a slice or two over the years that was under cooked and way to creamy on the inside but also we have all had those over cooked dry pieces as well. What I am looking for is that sweet spot right in the middle and with this baked casserole it is so very simple to hit that sweet spot in only 9 simple steps.

So where does French Toast come from? The earliest known reference to French toast is in the Apicius, a collection of Latin recipes dating to the 4th or 5th century, where it is described as simply aliter dulcis (“another sweet dish”). From the 14th century there are English, German and Nordic recipes known as Poor Knights. The earliest time it was referred to as French Toast was sometime in the 17th century England the name and recipe were brought to America by early settlers.

In France it is usually called Pain Perdu which literally translates as lost bread. Typically made from bread that stale, which I recommend for my cinnamon sugar doughnut french toast. For this recipe you don’t really need to use stale bread, in fact I made this with a loaf of texas toast I bought the same day.

As I said I used Texas toast for this, but any type of hearty bread will work, brioche would be very good as well. Start by taking your bread of choice and cutting or tearing it into roughly 1 inch chunks. You will need 20 ounces of bread which is roughly equal to 1 loaf of Texas toast. Place cubed bread into a 9×13 baking dish.

In a bowl add 8 large eggs, 2 cups heavy cream, 1 tablespoon rum extract, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.

Whisk together making sure to break all the yokes and combine all the dry ingredients.

Pour the custard mix over the cubed bread in the baking dish making sure to cover all of the bread. Wrap the top of the 9×13 with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4-6 hours. If you are using a bread with a heavier crust like french bread I strongly recommend leaving it in to chill overnight.

After chilling remove the 9×13 from the fridge discard the plastic wrap. Preheat the oven to 350. In a small mixing bowl mix 4 tablespoons sliced butter, 1/2 cup light brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Crumble strussel over top of the bread.

Cover with aluminium foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes to caramelize the topping.

Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes slice and serve with powdered sugar, or maple syrup or fruit topping would work extremely well.

INGREDIENTS

  • 20 ounces of bread, Texas toast
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon rum extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons butter sliced
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut or tear bread into 1 inch cubes and place into 9×13 baking dish
  2. In a bowl add 8 large eggs, 2 cups heavy cream, 1 tablespoon rum extract, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Whisk together making sure to break all the yokes and combine all the dry ingredients.
  3. Pour custard mixture over bread cubes
  4. Wrap the top of the 9×13 with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4-6 hours. If you are using a bread with a heavier crust like french bread I strongly recommend leaving it in to chill overnight.
  5. After chilling remove the 9×13 from the fridge discard the plastic wrap. Preheat the oven to 350.
  6. In a small mixing bowl mix 4 tablespoons sliced butter, 1/2 cup light brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Crumble strussel over top of the bread.
  7. Cover with aluminium foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes to caramelize the topping.
  8. Remove from oven allow to cool for a few minutes
  9. Slice and serve with topping of your choice

5 Comments Add yours

  1. ❦Kara❦ says:

    Can’t wait to try this..,,think I can use almond extract instead?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely I think almond extract would go really well especially if you serve it topped with fresh berries

      Liked by 1 person

    2. let me know how it goes for you

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ❦Kara❦ says:

        It went great, thx for sharing the recipe!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am happy you enjoyed it

        Liked by 1 person

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