Exploring options on what to make for Easter brunch was a lot of fun but I was trying to find some things that would be good for a large group of people. Baked french toast sounded like a perfect idea and after googling for a few days I decided to go with one of my favorites, Giada. I minimally changed her recipe and I trusted her for the basic premise. A lot of recipes soaked the bread overnight and I was worried it would become a soggy mess. Giada’s seemed like the perfect compromise. Baked French Toast is very easy to put together and it beats standing on the stove with a spatula flipping one piece of bread at a time. And the smells coming out of your oven are out of this world… it smells more like desert and less like brunch!
Here is Giada’s recipe! I made two large casserole dishes with 2 1/2 loaves of challah and 2 bags of frozen blueberries (the fresh ones didn’t look great).
- Butter, for greasing and to brush on top
- 6 eggs
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup maple syrup, plus extra for serving (make sure you warm your maple syrup for the table before serving)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 lemon, zested
- Day-old challah, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups (12 ounces) fresh or frozen, thawed, and drained blueberries
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- Dash of vanilla
Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
Cut your challah in 1 inch slices and again into 1 inch cubes.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest. Add the bread cubes and mix until coated. Stir in the blueberries. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Melt some butter and using a brush, paint the top of the casserole dish and top with a mixture of cinnamon and brown sugar. I also added some more lemon zest on top.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is set. Spoon onto serving plates and drizzle with maple syrup.
Here is our Easter brunch in the oven, Challah French Toast and Eggs in a Basket.