For Christmas morning brunch I made a French Toast Casserole with Orange Zest. It was a big hit with everyone, and I wanted to share it right away before it got lost in the shuffle. It comes from a blog called "StyleBlueprint For A Life of Style", not a food blog perse and if you take a look you will see what I mean. The original recipe by Liza can be found on this page. Thank you Liza!
French Toast Casserole with Orange Zest
1 large loaf of French bread from Panera, sliced and diced (or about 10 cups of one-inch cubed French bread) - Denise's note: I used a large loaf of Challah bread from our local supermarket
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
8 large eggs
1 cup 2 percent milk
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Zest of 1 orange
Juice of same orange
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
1 cup chopped bourbon pecans, optional (our host says you can get these from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. I also looked online and there are many recipes to choose from. I didn't use pecans this time but think I would keep mine plain, maybe toast them instead.)
Maple syrup for serving
Coat a 9 x13-inch glass baking dish with butter.
Arrange the bread cubes in the baking dish.
Place the cream cheese in a large bowl.
Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Add the milk, half-and-half, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest, orange juice and powdered sugar.
Mix until smooth.
Pour this mixture over the top of the bread cubes and cover with plastic wrap. Chill overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Remove the dish from the refrigerator, remove plastic wrap, and let stand for 20 minutes. Bake 45 to 50 minutes (test by sticking a knife in the center).
This is what it looks like when it first comes out of the oven.
Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar and chopped bourbon pecans just before serving, if using.
Liza suggests adding the orange flavored icing recipe which I shared below. (I did not use this time but it sounds delicious. It was also delicious without.) Her recipe came from Homemade Orange Sweet Rolls found at this link.
1 cup confectioners' sugar (or more for a thicker glaze)
3 tablespoons orange juice
Fresh orange zest from 1 orange
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a small bowl, mix together all of the glaze ingredients and drizzle over before serving. Add more orange juice to thin out, if needed.
I am glad I found this recipe. It was enjoyed by all of us.
As I already had a container of whole milk to use in baking over the weekend and wanted to use it up, I decided to replace the 2 percent in the recipe for 1 cup whole milk.
I forgot to put the fresh fruit on the list, and it was too late to go to the store. Instead, I found the recipe below for using frozen berries. At least the intention was there, but I ended up not making it and just used the sliced oranges to go with the casserole. It was more than enough. I will enjoy trying the following recipe next time.
We used good old plain Maple Syrup to pour over the casserole.
And for the next time:
Fruit Compote with Frozen Berries
Makes 1 cup
Calories per serving: 96 calories
Recipe found here.
½ cup frozen blueberries
¼ cup frozen strawberries
¼ cup frozen raspberries
¼ cup raw sugar (you can use 1/4 cup honey instead)
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon butter, unslated
1 tablespoon unbleached flour
Combine blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, sugar, water, and butter in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil and cook until berries break down, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to thicken until consistency is similar to a chutney or thick jam, adding flour to thicken even more if preferred.
Serve warm or chilled.
You can use any mix of frozen or fresh berries that you like (blueberries, wild berry mix, strawberries, raspberries, dried cranberries, as long as they equal 1 cup).
Thanks for looking. I hope your weekend was a great one, and I wish you a great week ahead.