Blueberry French Toast Casserole

Saturday, May 21, 2011

This coming month will be a busy time for our little homestead. Not only has spring finally arrived with all the chores and planting that goes along with its warmer weather, but a bounty of garden tours, workshops, lectures, festivals and gatherings are planned. Each weekend will be an opportunity to meet new friends, catch up with old ones and to show off what the season has to offer with a colorful array of potluck dishes. I love these kinds of gatherings, elegant and simple, yet unpretentious, with lots of time spent in gardens bursting with color and a peak at things to come. It’s a great way to shake off what has been an unpredictable winter that lasted weeks longer than normal.

It’s prime blueberry season in our neck of the woods and there’s nothing better than a weekend brunch marked by blueberries bursting with flavor. And the compliments for arriving with a clever dish that catches people’s eye and has them asking, “Can I get the recipe” ain’t bad either.

I came across a recipe for Blueberry French Toast Casserole and with a few adjustments it’s too wonderful and yummy to keep to myself. Here’s how you can make your own splash at a weekend brunch and have them coming back for more:

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

12 slices egg bread or Brioche, cut into 1-inch cubes
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups fresh local organic blueberries
12 farm fresh eggs
2 cups whole organic milk
1/3 cup pure Vermont maple syrup

1. Butter a 9”x13” baking dish.
2. Cut or tear bread into ½” cubes, spreading half the bread in the baking dish.
3. Cut cream cheese into 1” cubes and layer over bread. Top with blueberries and remaining bread.
4. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk and syrup. Pour mixture over layered bread. Use a spatula to press bread down into liquid.
5. Cover pan with foil and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Set on counter 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat oven to 350F.
6. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is golden brown and egg mixture is set in the middle, about 25-30 minutes more. Use a knife to check.

To make this dish even more decadent, serve it with a bit of Blueberry Sauce, which can be made while the casserole is baking.

Simply combine ½ cup sugar and a tablespoon of corn starch in a small saucepan. Add to it ½ cup of water and boil for 3 minutes. Then add ½ cup of fresh local organic blueberries and simmer until the berries begin to burst. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes. Take pan off the stove and stir in one teaspoon of nutmeg.

To serve your blueberry dream, cut into squares or spoon out portions onto a plate and drizzle blueberry sauce over the top. You can even add a shake or two of powered sugar.

Feeling a little adventurous with the coming of summer? Try making this casserole with other summer time berries like strawberries, blackberries, Olallieberries, or Logan berries.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Florida Magazine

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