There is not often you come across such a winner as this:
French toast, but prepped the night before, as a make, then soak, then bake casserole.
Oh, and did I mention that the bread was brioche from my local market’s bakery, and that I’d toasted it, then slathered the bottom layer with ricotta cheese before topping it with more toasted brioche, and then thawed frozen peach slices (so, no peeling and slicing!), then a nicely spiced egg mixture?
And, did I then mention the reduced heavy cream topping added just before baking?
Well, I will now; and you will LOVE this breakfast casserole – which I like to top off with a bit of this Blackberry and Rosemary Jam (available on Amazon)!
•Softened unsalted butter
•16 oz frozen sliced peaches, thawed
•2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
•1/2 cup packed brown sugar
•1/2 tsp ginger
•1/2 tsp allspice
•1 tsp vanilla
•1 cup heavy cream
Butter a 13×9 glass baking dish, then toast eight or so slices of day-or-so old brioche from your local market. You can make your own, with this very nice recipe, but, if your market bakery already puts together a decent loaf, and slices it, why not take advantage?
Arrange about seven slices of toasted brioche across the bottom of the buttered pan – you will more than likely need to trim that last slice to fit – then slather the tops with ricotta cheese.
Arrange another seven slices of toasted brioche on top, again cutting that last slice to fit the pan, then place the thawed peach slices on top.
I had tried to make a “pretty” arrangement of peach slices – I mean, they had come pretty uniformly prepped – but, in the end, I scattered bits here and there to fill the pan in a more or less even layer and did not worry too, too much about “pretty.”
I have always been much more concerned about the taste.
The original recipe I came across called for caned peaches, sugar, vanilla, and just a bit of cinnamon.
I’ve already noted the use of thawed frozen peach slices; but then I should note that, much as with my apple galette, I like a bit more spice, so, since I was low on cinnamon anyway, I used ground ginger and allspice; adding them to a mixing bowl with the milk, eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla, then whisking until quite well blended.
Pour the (nicely spiced) egg mixture over the peaches and the brioche, cover tightly with foil, and stash in the fridge for at least eight hours, tho’ overnight will work just fine!
The next morning (or early afternoon if this is gonna be a brunch thing – which it totally could be!), bring the baking dish out of the fridge and allow to come to room temp for about 30 minutes while you heat your oven to 350º and make the cream sauce.
Note: I changed a lot about the original recipe I came across the first time I made this, but I did not change the amount of cream (1/2 cup), reduced, called for. In my notes, the next time I make this – and yes – there will be a next time – I will be reducing a full cup of heavy cream, so that is what I call for in the ingredients list.
So! That said; add your cup of heavy cream to a heavy bottomed sauce pan, add a wooden skewer (believe it or not, this will help to keep your cream from boiling up and over the edge of the pot while you reduce it).
Bring your cream to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often, then simmer for about ten minutes until the cream has reduced by about half and is quite thick.
Remove the cream from the heat, then drizzle over the top of the peaches and soaked brioche and ricotta.
Note: again, I followed the original recipe calling for just 1/2 cup of cream, reduced, and my sister and I were quite happy with it; but, see for yourselves the finished baked casserole.
Still and all, nice (and, nicely spiced, if I do say so myself) French toast with next to no real effort involved.
We enjoyed ours with that blackberry and rosemary jam, but really, any jam of your choosing, and mebbe a bit of whipped cream, would all be good.
Oh. And bacon, of course.
Everything is better with bacon.
Check out this bourbon and brown sugar roasted bacon, if you’d like to go for a more or less complete oven brunch.
Bacon, bourbon, brown sugar, brioche, peaches, and cream.
What is not to love?