Apple Pie French Toast Bake (Casserole)
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A quick overnight french toast bake (or casserole) that you can assemble ahead of time and bake for breakfast or brunch. Top it off with my simple streusel and sour cream icing. Trust me, you won’t even need the maple syrup!
Cool off for a hot second with me, wouldja.
I’ve got a casserole dish stuffed with apple pie french toast bake, crunchy jumbo lump streusel and a tangy sour cream icing for you today. Is there a way to add a scratch and sniff feature to this page? The smells sweeping through my kitchen are just a little too insane for me to convey right now.
This french toast casserole is the newest addition to my french toast family. A couple of October’s ago I shared a pumpkin version that you guys fell for just as hard as I did. Our love for overnight french toast bakes is stronger together.
So this time, I swapped out the pumpkin puree for juicy and tart apples and drizzling on a sour cream icing because my heart told me to do so. And what we’re left with is the perfect excuse to eat apple pie for breakfast. It even comes all wrapped up looking like a french toast casserole.
French toast bakes are my everrrrrthing.
The first time I made this apple pie casserole, it was still well over 90 degrees and sweltering outside. My oven had been on full blast because of course, I chose the hottest day of the week to test ALL THE RECIPES for fall. An hour in and my smooth, straightened hair started to curl at the sides. Houstons one-thousand percent chance of humidity does that to you. Out of sheer need for comfort, I grabbed a spoon and went to town on this hot-out-of-the-oven french toast bake. I’ll never forget that first bite. It was everything I love about fall, all enclosed into one neat bundle.
It starts off all innocent. You know a handful of eggs, a little heavy cream, a couple cups of milk, and then we spike it with cinnamon and nutmeg and add buttery apples to the whole mix. Give me a week and I’ll eat the entire casserole all by myself. It’s good for breakfast but it doubles up almost like a bread pudding and I’m good to go again for the second round after dinner.
How to make the best apple pie french toast bake:
- use stale bread: at least a day if not two. Stale bread will soak up that delicious custard and leave you with no jiggly centers or a dry crumb in sight!
- saute the apples: I know, it’s an additional step, but when you saute the sliced apples in a little butter and sugar and sprinkle on a pinch of cinnamon something absolutely magical happens. The apples soften, turn golden and caramelize and meld into the bread pudding and become one.
- make ahead: this one really benefits all of us! It’s actually better if you make this ahead of time. I repeat it’s actually BETTER. I love making recipes that you prep ahead of time and then in the morning just pop it in the oven and when your guests come over, they’ll be none the wiser. Just wow them with your Susie homemaker skills and let them think you went through all that trouble.
- about that sugar: I used a full cup of sugar in my french toast bake and along with the streusel and icing, it makes this casserole kinda on the sweeter side. Think actual dessert. If you’re looking to serve this maple syrup, I suggest cutting back on the sugar to 1/2 a cup and skipping the icing.
- make them into individual portions: You can make these into 12 cupcake sized cups if you want to serve them individually. They’ll take a little less time in the oven and you can find directions on how to do so here.
- go dairy-free: replace the milk with almond, soy, cashew, or coconut milk. You can use full-fat coconut cream in place of the heavy cream to give it that touch of luxury! For the icing, swap out the sour cream for coconut milk yogurt.
Promise me you’ll get your french toast bake action on this weekend. Or at least put it on the menu for when you’re entertaining next.
P.S. don’t forget the hot mugs of coffee 🙂
- 4 medium apples, (peeled, cored, sliced)
- 6 tablespoons salted butter, divided
- granulated sugar*
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 1 (day old) French bread, diced*
- 2 cups milk*
- 1/2 cup heavy cream*
- 6 large eggs
- 4 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- apples: heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and allow it to melt. When melted, add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the skillet. Stir to combine. Toss the apples in the butter mixture. Stir as needed and let the apples cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Remove; let cool.
- casserole: Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Place the diced bread in the pan and layer on the cooked apples; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar (1/2 cup if serving with maple syrup or 1 cup if serving on it's own with sour cream icing) milk, cream, eggs, vanilla, nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Pour the prepared custard over the bread and apples.
- streusel: combine the light brown sugar, remaining 4 tablespoons of butter (diced), all-purpose flour, and remaining 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Using your fingertips, mix together until the butter breaks down into smaller pieces. Sprinkle over prepared casserole. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours and preferably overnight.
- bake: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350ºF. Bake the casserole for 45-55 minutes or until the casserole is no longer jiggly. You may need to tent the casserole with a piece of foil if it starts browning too quickly.
- butter: just use a pinch of salt wherever the butter is called for if you've got unsalted
- sugar: If you're serving this casserole with my sour cream icing, use 1 cup of sugar for the casserole portion. If you're serving this with maple syrup, use 1/2 cup granulated sugar. You'll also need 2 tablespoons of sugar for the apples.
- french bread: you can also use brioche or challah bread
- milk + heavy cream substitutes: for a dairy-free option, replace the milk with almond, soy, coconut or cashew milk. Substitute coconut cream for the heavy cream
- sour cream icing: whisk together 1 tablespoon of sour cream, 1/3 cup of powdered sugar, and 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Drizzle on the casserole and enjoy!
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