This is a scrumptious and special breakfast casserole that can be made ahead.This French toast casserole has a crunchy top with custardy bread filling.You can simply cover the bread in casserole dish with plastic wrap,and whisk all the ingredients for the custard then cover and refrigerate until morning.Or if you like it to be pudding like ,you can pour the custard over bread and refrigerate overnight. I made this casserole last week for sisters brunch, and it was a big hit.I served it with delicious blackberry sauce,and that made it even more special.Mmmmmm!!!
1 challah bread*
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream**
2 cups milk**
1 1/2 zested and juice squeezed
3 tablespoons orange liqueur (optional,but very good)
1/4 teaspoon salt
* You can use french bread or any other lightly sweetened specialty bread.
** Or 4 cups half and half
2 cups blackberries
1/2 cup turbinado sugar ( light brown sugar or regular white is fine too)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (optional)
1/2 cup water*
orange zest( about 1/2 orange)
Note: If you like your sauce to be thicker, add 1 teaspoon cornstarch to water.
*You can mix 1/4 cup water + 1/4 cup orange juice and reduce the amount sugar.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice bread in to large chunks and arrange all pieces of bread in the glass baking dish or casserole dish.Sprinkle a little of turbinado sugar over the top of bread.
In a mixing bowl,whisk eggs with salt.Add cream,milk,sugar,orange zest,orange juice,and orange liqueuer. Whisk to incorporate all the ingredients.
Pour the custard mixture over bread.Sprinkle sliced almonds over the bread.
Cover with foil and bake covered for about 30-35 minutes.Remove foil and continue to bake until the top is light golden brown ( about another 25-30 minutes).When ready to serve, dust with powdered sugar and add more almonds if desired. Serve with warm maple sauce,homemade syrup with cinnamon,or blackberry sauce.
Blackberry sauce directions:
Place blackberry in a blender.Pulse until well blended.Press the sauce through fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds.Add sugar,orange zest,cinnamon,water/orange juice blackberries.
Heat the sauce in a sauce pan on medium heat.Let it simmer for about 3-5 minutes.Whisk in orange liqueuer.