When it comes to the weekend, I like to pull out all the stops when preparing a breakfast for my family. During the week we are all quite busy and do not really have time to sit down and enjoy breakfast together. That always changes at the weekend. We have a lot more leisure time and plenty of time to enjoy a nice sit-down breakfast or brunch.
Tasty bakes such as this Blueberry French Toast Bake are definitely on the menu! This delicious French Toast Casserole with Cream Cheese is probably one of our favourite weekend breakfasts!
Not only is it an amazingly simple casserole to bake, but it includes many of our favourite things. Sweet blueberries and cubes of French bread are layered in a baking dish, doused with a rich cinnamon/egg custard, dolloped with cream cheese, and baked to perfection, until golden brown. Cut into squares and drizzled with Maple Syrup, this French Toast Casserole with Cream Cheese is pretty hard to resist!
WHAT DO I NEED TO MAKE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE WITH CREAM CHEESE
You might think a recipe such as this would be complicated and difficult to prepare. That it might require plenty of out-of-the-ordinary ingredients. Nothing could be further from the truth. This casserole uses simple ingredients which are put together in a very simple and delicious way.
|1 large loaf of Italian or French bread, cut into 1 inch cubes|
|8 large free range eggs|
|2 ½ cups of full fat milk|
|The juice of one lemon|
|1/3 cup sugar|
|2 tsp ground cinnamon|
|2 tsp vanilla extract|
|½ tsp salt|
|1 cup of frozen blueberries, unthawed and tossed together with 1 TBS flour|
|4 ounces full fat cream cheese, cubed|
|Confectioners’ sugar to dust at the end (optional)|
|Syrup to serve|
HINTS AND TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE WITH CREAM CHEESE
Here are my favourite hints and tips, guaranteed to make creating this fabulous breakfast bake easier and more delicious. In short, a tasty success!
- Read through the recipe several times before beginning to familiarise yourself with the methods and any ingredients you are going to use for this recipe.
- Lay out everything you will need ahead of time. This helps to prevent any costly mistakes and also gives you an opportunity to nip out and gather any ingredients you might be missing before you get started. There is nothing more annoying than getting halfway through a recipe only to find out you do not have a vital ingredient! Having everything out and ready to go can also shorten your preparation time considerably.
- You can use either an Italian Loaf or a French Loaf for this bake. I prefer French myself as it has a crisper crust.
- Use only pure vanilla extract. I do not think artificial vanilla has the same oomph that real vanilla has. (Top Tip: when you are using vanilla beans for things, after you have scraped the seeds from the pods, stick the spent pods down into your sugar cannister. Voila! Vanilla sugar!)
- I use large free range eggs. This is a personal preference. I like to think that the eggs I use come from happy chickens and that they taste better because of that.
- Use only full-fat whole milk (homogenised) for the custard, not semi-skimmed or skimmed.
- You can use fresh blueberries if you have them, but it is completely acceptable to use frozen berries for this bake. When using frozen berries do NOT thaw them out first.
- Use full fat cream cheese, not light or no fat. Your casserole will not turn out the same or be as rich without the full deal. The recipe requires you to cube the cream cheese. Cream cheese here in the UK is not quite as solid as cream cheese in North America and so I dolloped it on in ½ tsp sized dollops.
- I like to use the juice from a real lemon rather than lemon juice from concentrates. It just has a nicer cleaner flavour.
- I forgot to do it this time, but generally speaking if you whisk your cinnamon together with the sugar before you beat it into the egg mixture you will not end up with clumps of cinnamon and it will blend in a lot easier.
- Not fond of blueberries? Feel free to use raspberries or blackberries in their place.
HOW TO MAKE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE WITH CREAM CHEESE
You are really going to be pleased at just how simple and easy this French Toast Casserole is to make! It is something you will not mind preparing for your family because of this. For that reason, and with its beautiful rich flavours this casserole is bound to become a real favourite with you all!
Begin by preheating your oven to 375*F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish really well and then set aside.
Cut your bread into 1-inch cubes. I like to leave the crusts on. I think they help the finished bake to look even nicer. Toss your frozen berries together with the flour.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. I like to do this in a large beaker if I can with a lip as it makes pouring it over the bread much easier. No spills. Also as I said above, try mixing the sugar and cinnamon together first and then you won’t get any clumping.
Start layering in your bread, floured berries, and cream cheese. Begin with half of the cubes of bread. Scatter half the berries over top and then dot with half of the cream cheese. Pour over half of the egg custard mixture. Repeat the layers one more time.
Cover the casserole tightly with aluminium foil. Place into the preheated oven to bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for a further 20 to 30 minutes until the custard has set and the casserole is golden brown.
Remove the casserole from the oven and allow it to stand for 10 minutes before dusting with icing sugar and cutting into squares, ready to serve with your favourite breakfast syrup.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE WITH CREAM CHEESE
This is pretty much an all in one bake. I like to serve it with pure Maple Syrup, but you can serve it with whatever type of breakfast syrup you enjoy. Buttermilk syrup is also genuinely nice. Sometimes, if we are feeling particularly hungry or for a special brunch, we have fried bacon and sausages on the side.
If your family is not fond of berries, you can leave them out all-together, or replace the berries with a fruit that they do like such as chopped apple, peaches, or nectarines. Mugs of hot coffee and glasses of fresh orange or apple juice complete this meal perfectly.
You can very successfully cut this recipe in half to feed less people. I often cut the quantities in half as there are only two of us here most of the time. I do not recommend freezing this bake because of the custard and the cream cheese which may split. You can, however, store any leftovers in the refrigerator and reheat them gently the next day if you wish.
So there you have it. An impressive breakfast/brunch bake that your whole family is sure to love! Totally adaptable to your own tastes fruit wise, simple to make and oh so delicious!
- 1 large loaf of Italian or French bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 8 large free range eggs
- 2 ½ cups of full fat milk
- The juice of one lemon
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup of frozen blueberries, unthawed and tossed together with 1 TBS flour
- 4 ounces full fat cream cheese, cubed
- Confectioners’ sugar to dust at the end (optional)
- Syrup to serve
- Preheat the oven to 375*F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish really well. Set aside.
- Whisk the eggs, milk, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Spread half of the cubed bread in the buttered baking dish. Pour half of the egg mixture over top. Scatter over half of the cubed cream cheese and half of the blueberries. Repeat the layers once more, ending with berries.
- Cover tightly with aluminium foil and place in the preheated oven to bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes until the bread cubes are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes prior to serving. Dust with icing sugar and cut into squares to serve. Serve with your favourite syrup.
Marie Rayner is a retired Chef, freelance writer, recipe developer, food blogger, and Cookbook author. She makes her home in Chester, UK, where she lives with her husband, Todd, and their much beloved English Cocker, Mitzie. Her motto is “Life is far too short to eat bad food,” and her goal is to share delicious and easy recipes which anyone can enjoy and cook in the comfort of their own home.