This french toast casserole is absolutely a treat but it makes for a fantastic brunch item that will be sure to impress everyone. I baked my casserole for the full hour, that I mention below, because I wanted more of a firm set bread texture. The edge pieces are my favorite because they have both the soft, gooey texture of perfect french toast with just a little bit of crusty, crunchy bread around the outside. The streusel topping is crunchy too and adds the perfect layer of sweet, cinnamon richness. Serve this beautiful casserole with a fruit salad, maybe a slice of quiche or some scrambled eggs, roasted veggies, a little bacon and you have my perfect idea of a delicious Sunday brunch!
Overnight French Toast Casserole
1 loaf challah, french, or sourdough bread
8 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold butter, cubed
Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. Tear the bread into small chunks and place them evenly into the pan. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, white sugar, and vanilla extract. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread, cover tightly and refrigerate at least two hours, or for best results, overnight.
In a separate small bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together. Add the cubed butter into the bowl and use a pastry cutter, two forks, or your hands to cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles the texture of pebbles. Store this mixture in a zipper baggie or you can do this right before you bake the casserole.
When you are ready to bake, remove the casserole from the refrigerator, uncover it, and sprinkle the crumb mixture all over the top. Bake in a 350F oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how firmly set you like your french toast. Serve immediately and top with a dusting of powdered sugar, fresh fruit, or a little drizzle of maple syrup.