This is one of those recipes I’ve made for years but somehow hadn’t made it yet on my blog yet for posterity. A friend requested it the other day and I was going to just send her the recipe link when I realized I’d never published it here. That’s one of the many things I appreciate about blogging. Over the years I have gotten numerous requests for recipes and now I can just send a link instead of re-typing or hoping I’d already sent the recipe to someone else so I could find it in my files and forward it.
Anyway, this french toast casserole comes from America’s Test Kitchen and it has been a hit with pretty much everyone I’ve made it for. The only change I’ve made is substituting pancake syrup for the light corn syrup the original recipe calls for. I went to make this last night and realized my lone bottle of Karo syrup had been tossed in a fit of cleaning. Corn syrup is an ingredient I barely use, so I figured for the purpose of this french toast casserole, pancake syrup is something that most of you are more likely to have on hand.
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Make Ahead French Toast Casserole
for the base
- 1 loaf 16 oz. Supermarket French or Italian Bread, torn into 1" pieces
- 1 T. butter softened
- 8 large eggs
- 2 1/2 c. whole milk
- 1 1/2 c. heavy cream
- 1 T. sugar
- 2 t. vanilla extract
- ½ t. cinnamon
- ½ t. nutmeg
for the topping
- 8 T. unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/3 c. light brown sugar
- 2 T. pancake syrup
- 2 c. pecans chopped coarse
for the base
- Adjust 2 oven racks to upper middle and lower middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Spread bread out over 2 baking sheets and bake until dry and light golden brown, about 25 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheets halfway through baking time. Let bread cool completely.
- Coat a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with the tablespoon of butter and pack dried bread into dish. Whisk eggs in large bowl and then whisk in milk, cream and sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread and press on bread lightly to submerge.
- For the topping: Stir butter, brown sugar, and pancake syrup together until smooth, then stir in pecans.
- To store: Transfer topping to airtight container and wrap dish tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate topping and casserole separately for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
- To serve: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap casserole and sprinkle topping evenly over top, breaking apart any large pieces with your fingers. Place casserole on rimmed baking sheet and bake until puffed and golden, about 1 hour.
- Serve at once