Every so often, the Missus gets called upon to contribute a dish for her school’s quarterly staff breakfast. In the past, she’s brought in her apricot kugel... and even a pile of my home-baked bagels. This time, she ginned out three pans of Blueberry French Toast Casserole, using a time-honored recipe from our friend Debbie M.
The French do not call this dish “French toast,” nor do they even call it “toast” in the same way that the Chinese refer to Chinese food as “food.” They call it pain perdu - lost bread - because a dousing with egg custard is an excellent way to reclaim stale bread that would otherwise be tossed to the birds.
The good news? Everyone loved it. The even better news? There was a whole pan left over for us to snarf up at home... perfect for a rainy Saturday morning.
A massive slice of Blueberry French Toast Casserole. Now, doesn’t that look positively inviting?
I had mine with a grating of fresh nutmeg and some warm maple syrup, the gift of friends in northwestern Connecticut who make it themselves from the maple trees that grow on their land. (Really.)
It’s easy enough to make. Here’s how:
Blueberry French Toast Casserole
1 loaf challah (egg bread)
8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups blueberries (frozen or fresh)
⅓ cup maple syrup (real maple syrup, not that Log Cabin crap)
½ cup granulated sugar
2 cups half and half
Grease a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Slice the crust off the bread - if you like a crustier, chewier French toast, by all means leave some or all of the crust on. Break the bread into bite-size chunks and scatter half of it in the dish. Break the cream cheese into pieces and scatter them over the bread. Sprinkle the blueberries over the bread and cream cheese. Cover with the remaining bread.
Mix the eggs with the sugar, syrup, and half and half and pour over the dry ingredients. Refrigerate overnight.
Bake at 350°F for one hour. Serve it forth with lashings of warm maple syrup on the side... and get out of the way, because you do not want to be anywhere between the ravening hordes of breakfast eaters and that casserole dish.
Postscriptum: We don’t eat French toast here at Chez Elisson very often, owing to its being hugely carby and fattening. And irresistible - let’s not forget irresistible. Most of that last pan will reside in the freezer until a suitable occasion presents itself.