Monday, March 27, 2017

Marmalade Baked French Toast

There are so many things to like about this baked breakfast/brunch recipe. The most important one is, of course, it’s fabulous deliciousness! But when it comes to logistics and construction, it has lots more to offer as well.

To sum up this dish, it’s two layers of buttered French bread slices with orange marmalade and cream cheese sandwiched between them. A lightly sweetened custard gets poured over all of it, the whole thing sits in the refrigerator overnight, and then it gets baked.

I love the make-ahead nature of this as well as the ease with which it goes together. You can have it waiting in the refrigerator when you wake up, not really all that well-rested, on a weekend morning, get it into the oven and take a little nap while it bakes. (Is it just me?) The reward will be out of proportion to your small evening effort.

This bakes up firm, but moist. The flavor of the marmalade and that little bit of cream cheese (I took the liberty of stealing that idea from another recipe) stand out well within the mild flavors of bread and custard. It’s not overly sweet, since citrusy marmalade isn’t so sugary. If you want something sweeter, you could drizzle some syrup on your serving, but I found it not to be needed.

I’m sure you could use other jams or jellies in place of the marmalade. I’d like to try raspberry, myself. You could also go without the cream cheese, or add some nuts or fresh fruit. I’m going to keep this recipe close by, using it as a template for whatever flavors seem like they might be great. And, since I can put everything together ahead of time, I don’t have to worry about making those flavor decisions in the morning. Not my best time of day!

Marmalade Cream Cheese Baked French Toast

1 16-ounce loaf French bread, cut into ½-inch slices
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
12 ounces orange marmalade
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
6 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
2 ¾ cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread half of the butter on one side of half of the bread slices. Arrange the buttered slices, butter side down, in the prepared baking dish. Overlap slightly as needed to fit.

2. Spread the marmalade evenly over the top of the bread. Distribute the cream cheese evenly over the marmalade.

3. Spread the remaining butter on one side of each of the remaining slices of bread. Arrange these bread slices over the marmalade and cream cheese layer with the buttered side up.

4. In a medium-size bowl, beat the eggs and the sugar together. Beat in the milk, vanilla and nutmeg.

5. Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight.

6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F. Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the egg mixture is no longer liquid. Let stand 5-10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Leftovers can be refrigerated. Microwave individual leftover servings.

Another recipe like this one: French Toast Casserole with Cardamom and Pears

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