Sometimes as a wife and a mother it can be a bit of a challenge to make the meals we prepare for our family fresh and exciting. This can be true of any meal, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. Throw in a pandemic combined with having to live on store-cupboard ingredients and the challenge gets even harder.
This recipe I am sharing today is one which not only will make your family breakfasts that bit more interesting, but it also makes good use of what most of us already have in the home – French Toast Crumble.
An overnight breakfast casserole bake that boasts a delicious French Toast base, topped with a scrumptious oaty crumble topping. This is one breakfast bake that is sure to please all the members of your family! It is also perfect for entertaining.
One of the things I like most about this French Toast Crumble is that you can throw together the base and the topping the night before you want to serve it. Cover and chilled, both components rest in the refrigerator overnight, ready for you to assemble and finish baking in the morning.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE FRENCH TOAST CRUMBLE
There is nothing really out of the ordinary required to create this fabulous overnight breakfast casserole. Simple ingredients from the store cupboard combine with stale bread for a real family pleaser! You will need:
|½ loaf of stale French bread, cut into cubes (about 4 cups)|
|4 large free range eggs|
|1 cup of whole milk (you can use shelf stable milk if you have no fresh milk)|
|¼ cup of whipping cream (you can use evaporated milk if you have no cream)|
|1⁄3 cup granulated sugar|
|1 TBS vanilla extract|
|½ tsp ground cinnamon|
|¼ tsp each ground cardamom and grated nutmeg (I like to grate my nutmeg fresh)|
|Plain all-purpose flour|
|¼ cup soft light brown sugar (I always pack it down well in the measuring cup)|
|¼ cup salted butter, cut into cubes|
|¼ cup large flaked oatmeal|
|¼ tsp each ground cinnamon, ground cardamom and grated nutmeg|
HINTS AND TIPS FOR SUCCESS
- Read through the recipe carefully prior to making. This way you are less likely to leave anything out or miss an important step later on.
- Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature when you begin. If your eggs are cold from the refrigerator, put them into a bowl of warm water (not HOT) for about 10 to 15 minutes before using.
- Measure out everything needed to make the recipe. This is called Mise En Place (everything in place). This also ensures that you won’t leave anything out of the recipe.
- Make sure to use stale bread, at least several days old, and to cut it into uniformly sized pieces. The reason stale bread is used is because it will absorb the milk and egg mixture better. Although French Bread is recommended for this breakfast bake, you can use any sturdy type of bread in its place. I do not recommend using anything other than a white bread.
- Make sure your butter is ice cold when you begin to rub it into the ingredients for the topping. This helps to make nicer clumps. You will want a mix of larger and smaller clumps.
- Take the base out of the refrigerator about half an hour prior to baking. Leave the crumble topping in the refrigerator and them crumble it over the base just prior to popping it into the oven.
- You can bake this ahead of time, cut into serving sized wedges, wrap each securely and then freeze for several months for a quick on-the-go last-minute hearty breakfast. When ready to serve, thaw and simply reheat in a microwave for about 1 minute until heated through.
HOW TO MAKE FRENCH TOAST CRUMBLE
This is really a very simple breakfast bake that doesn’t involve anything complicated when it comes to putting it all together.
First you need to cut or tear your bread into evenly sized pieces. I don’t bother to remove the crusts from mine. Because it sits overnight in the refrigerator, everything softens up nicely, even the crusts. You want about 4 cups of bread cubes.
I like to butter the dish prior to putting in the bread. Sprinkle the bread cubes evenly into the buttered dish and then sprinkle the spices evenly over top. Some people might be tempted to whisk the spices into the egg mixture, but I don’t recommend that as they can clump together. You get much better results by sprinkling them evenly over the bread before anything else is added.
You will need to beat together the eggs, milk, cream, vanilla and sugar to make a mixture which gets poured over the bread in the baking dish. What I find always works best is to whisk the eggs together with the sugar first to help dissolve the sugar.
Once you have done this you can whisk in the milk and cream. Making sure that the sugar has melted into the mixture prevents you from ending up with a clump of undissolved soggy sugar syrup left in the bottom of the measuring glass at the end.
Pour the egg and milk mixture evenly over your bread cubes and then cover with plastic cling film. You can now place it into the refrigerator overnight, ready to bake in the morning.
The crumble topping is also very easy to make. I measure the flour, salt, spices and brown sugar into a bowl. Next add the cubes of cold butter. Work these into the flour mixture with your fingertips, rubbing everything together until you have a mixture with large clumps.
Add the oats and continue to rub everything together. You should end up with a mixture that resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Cover the bowl of crumble topping with some plastic cling film and refrigerate overnight until you are ready to bake the French Toast in the morning.
In the morning when you are ready to bake the French Toast Crumble remove the dish with the base from the refrigerator about half an hour prior to baking it.
Preheat your oven. This makes sure that your dish isn’t too cold and helps lower the risk of breakage by popping it into the oven when it is too cold. Crumble the topping evenly over the casserole just prior to baking it.
When it is done you will have an almost soufflé-like base topped with a sweet oaty and buttery crumble topping, ready to cut into wedges and serve warm with some maple syrup poured over top.
SUGGESTIONS FOR SERVING
French Toast Breakfast Crumble is really delicious on its own. On special occasions you might want to add some grilled bacon and sausages to really amp it up. We like Maple Syrup with ours, but you can serve this with any fruited syrup as well. It is also very delicious served with a variety of fresh berries or tinned fruits such as sliced peaches.
This is the perfect breakfast bake to serve on the weekend, or when you have company over. Hopefully it won’t be much longer before we are able to do just that. One thing is for sure however, and that is you can feel good about feeding this to your family. They are sure to love it, and it is bound to put a smile on everyone’s faces.
- ½ loaf of stale French bread, cut into cubes (about 4 cups)
- 4 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¼ cup of cream
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1 TBS vanilla extract
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp each ground nutmeg and cardamom
- For the crumble topping:
- ¼ cup of flour
- ¼ cup soft light brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup cold butter, cut into bits
- ¼ cup of oatmeal
- Pinch salt
- ¼ tsp each ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg and ground cardamom
- Butter a large flan dish, about 1 ½ inches tall and 10 inches in diameter.
- Place all of the bread into the dish in a single layer. Sprinkle with the cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Beat together the eggs, cream, milk, sugar and vanilla. Pour over the bread evenly.
- Cover tightly with plastic cling film. Place into the refrigerator to chill for several hours or overnight.
- To make the topping, whisk the sugar and flour together in a small bowl. Stir in the salt and spices. Drop in the butter. Rub all together until it forms big clumps.
- Add the oats and rub them in. You will want a mixture which resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Ideally there should be some small and some large clumps. Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350*F. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over top of the bread mixture. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until set and golden brown. A knife inserted near the centre should come out clean.
- Cut into wedges to serve. Serve with your favourite accompaniments.
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.