September 13, 2017

french toast bread pudding with berry maple syrup

French toast bread pudding is comfort from your head to your toes. This recipe is all of the things we love about french toast - creamy, sweet, rich, cinnamon-y, and warm warm warm - but it's soaked and stirred and baked in casserole form! Bread pudding is a go-to for me so often when I have a house full of family or company because it serves as breakfast or dessert! It can be served fresh out of the oven or easily reheated. And it just scratches all of my comfort food itches! This french toast bread pudding is ladled with a rich berry maple syrup that can be made ahead and reheated. You’ll want to make this for your people when the temperatures drop and you need to feel warmth from the inside out!

Serves 8 or more

1 (14-16 ounce) loaf of French bread
8 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
Unsalted butter for the pan

-for the berry maple syrup-
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen blackberries or blueberries, thawed
4 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons sugar
Pinch cinnamon
1 ½ cup maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350F. Slice the ends of the bread off and discard. Slice the bread into 1” slices, then cut each slice into quarters. Put the cubed bread pieces into a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs to combine. Whisk in the sugar until combined. Then whisk in the milks, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Pour the cream mixture over the bread cubes, stirring and folding them gently to soak well. Allow the bread mixture to soak for 10 minutes, then stir and soak another 10 minutes. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 casserole dish or or deep oval baker. Pour the mixture into the dish, carefully distributing it evenly in the pan. Set the pan inside a larger pan filled with enough warm water to come up about halfway. Loosely cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil, increase oven to 375F, and bake another 10-15  minutes or until the french toast casserole is golden brown and puffed up. The center should be moist and custardy but not sloshing wet. Carefully remove from the oven, remove the pan from the water.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

In a medium saucepan, combine blackberries, lemon juice and sugar. Bring to a boil and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring gently on occasion until the juices begin to thicken a little bit. Remove from the heat. Stir in pinch of cinnamon and maple syrup. May make syrup a few days ahead, stored airtight in the refrigerator.