Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Overnight Blueberry French Toast Casserole

After the exhaustion that was Thanksgiving — cleaning (Egad!), cooking, setting the table, driving 40 minutes one way to get Dad, then those 40 minutes back, serving a hungry horde, then repeating the process with dad, I realized, at my age (factoring in that I’m not getting any younger) that something different needed to be done. I talked this over with number two son, and, as usual, he had a good idea. He said, “I think what we need to do mom, is, instead of bringing Mohamed to the mountain, we need to bring the mountain to Mohamed. That turned out to please everyone at Christmas, particularly Dad, who was so happy to have, as he put it, “Christmas back in the house.
Late in the game I decided that I would make a brunch (like my mother used to do) and take it out to my dad Christmas Eve morning, and meet up with other members of the family. To cut to the chase, let me just say that it worked out beautifully, and everyone enjoyed it. Backing up a bit, I realized I could have planned this a little bit better, and started earlier. My mother used to put on quite a lavish display Christmas morning with her brunches that were known far and wide. What I didn’t take into consideration when I started cooking (the day before!), was that she worked on her brunch for weeks, preparing and freezing some of the casseroles ahead of time. Nope, not me, I decided to do all of the work the day before. I ordered a Honey Baked Ham (that was the easy part), then made French Rustic Potatoes,
Cheese Peta, Eggsquisite Egg Casserole, New Jersey Coffee Cake, and, because I couldn’t find my mother’s recipe for cheese blintzes topped with blueberry sauce, came up with this rendition in the form of a French toast casserole, combining a number of recipes. It was a huge hit! More so than I ever imagined. Don’t get me wrong, everyone loved the brunch, but this was the one dish that drew the most comments.

Don’t wait until Christmas to try it; you might consider cutting the recipe in half and serving your Valentine a special breakfast, or including it in Easter brunch. At any rate, it’s make ahead, it’s delicious, and what a crowd-pleaser!
 Overnight Blueberry French Toast Casserole

6 1”-thick slices French bread, cut into cubes
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 ½ (12 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup milk
1/8 teaspoon
½ teaspoon almond extract
6 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ teaspoon
vanilla extract
¼ cup maple syrup

For sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries
Juice of ½ lemon
1 Tablespoon butter

Spray a
9” x 9” baking dish with Pam; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, cinnamon, and almond extract until smooth and creamy. Place half of the bread cubes into the bottom of the dish, and dollop the cream cheese mixture all over the top. Sprinkle blueberries
over the cream cheese, and top with remaining bread cubes.

In another medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and syrup. Pour over the bread cubes, pressing down lightly to make certain all cubes are soaked. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Remove from refrigerator, leave it covered, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking 20 to 25 minutes longer until center is firm and top is lightly browned.

While French toast is baking, make the blueberry sauce. Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Stirring constantly, cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in blueberries. Reduce heat and simmer 8 to 10 minutes until the blueberries burst and the mixture thickens. Stir in the butter and lemon juice. Pour over baked French toast. Serve warm.

If you prefer something simpler, but still blueberry-licious, try these Blueberry Pancakes with Warm Blueberry Sauce.

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Debbie - Mountain Mama said...

This looks amazing, Pattie!! Pinning - this would be a great Christmas morning casserole that can cook while we open presents!

Linda said...

Lord have mercy this looks good! Just another brilliant recipe to add to my pile of Pattie bookmarks. So many to make.