Berry Brioche Baked French Toast is bright, fresh, and both light and richly decadent thanks to the brioche. It can even be made the night before, so it scores major points for both ease and deliciousness!
I have this thing about breakfast.
When I was a little girl, breakfast was a big deal. Not every day of course, but I come from a big southern family, and any time people would come in to town to visit us, there’d be big breakfasts.
Sometimes they’d be out at a diner or local breakfast spot, but more often they’d be at home. There’d be biscuits, and gravy and grits and eggs, and pancakes or french toast. There might be an egg casserole, there might be sweet rolls or donuts. Whatever there was, though, there’d be a lot. We’d linger around the table for hours, talking about what we’d do that day, and perhaps most importantly, what and when we were going to eat later that day.
Does it sound strange to you to talk about future meals WHILE you’re enjoying one meal? It doesn’t to me. This is how we’ve always been. The kitchen and the kitchen table are the heart of the home. It isn’t entirely about the delight of eating food – though to be fair and true it is a little about that 😉 It’s mostly about the coming together. The lingering. The coffee and conversation.
This is my happy place.
Loved ones, friends seated around a table. A spread big enough to keep digging back into, to keep the faces facing each other and the seats in the seats for as long as possible. I think, essentially, this is why southerners are known for their hospitality. Keeping others satisfied keeps others around, and that’s what’s in it for us!
Whenever we have company I try to make a big breakfast. Of course, when my in-laws came after the birth of my son I planned out several dishes that would be fun and filling, but easy for me to do in the still-nursing-around-the-clock schedule we were under. But my in-laws are anti-breakfast!
I try not to hold this against them! 🙂
Instead, I rallied, and came up with a few lunches that were bigger than I’d planned. Lunch isn’t the same to me, because people are far less willing to linger at lunch I find. At least here. When I’m travelling in France or Spain it’s a different story! There lunch reigns supreme.
It was all fine in the end of course.
But it was so hard for me to wrap my southern-hostess-brain around the fact that someone wouldn’t want to eat a home cooked breakfast. Of course, I completely get health concerns, and we don’t eat that way all the time.
But seeing loved ones you don’t get to see all the time is cause for a little celebration with some oven baked carbs and berries, amiright?
A French Toast Perfect for Spring and Summer
Which brings me to the subject, or recipe, at hand. There are a lot of versions of overnight french toast out there. My version here is perfect for spring and summer. I absolutely believe, though, in using good bread. I bought the brioche for this baked version at my local supermarket. If you can’t find brioche, I would recommend challah bread, or a very good sourdough.
If you use a different kind of bread, though, you may want to adjust the amount of eggs. Brioche is such a light bread I find I need fewer eggs, and that using too many can make it a bit dense and eggy. But a heavier bread like sourdough would probably want a bit more of the egg mixture, so I’d add more.
Tools to Make Baked French Toast Easy
I invested in a 9×13 dish with a tight fitting plastic lid. I have a tiny side-by-side refrigerator, and fitting this baked french toast in to chill and soak for three hours takes up – well, an entire shelf. And my mustn’t spend money side was refusing to buy one of these, even though they aren’t expensive, because I could use tin foil of course! But seriously – being able to stack things on top of it and not muss the whole thing up is worth the few dollars a new baking dish costs.
Sometimes my stubborn side is just too darn stubborn.
Don’t tell my husband I said that!
Anyhoo, I also thought you might be interested in this sifter for powdered sugar. I use it for sprinkling confectioner’s sugar on this baked french toast, crepes, and a host of other baked goods. It is in the category of not necessary, but I’m certainly glad I have one 🙂
Serving It Up
I serve this baked french toast with a dusting of powdered sugar and real maple syrup or honey, or topped with sugared berries and real homemade citrus whipped cream. I always have a savory dish on the side, even if it is just basic scrambled eggs.
How about you? Do you have a big breakfast tradition? Do you have a company cake or go-to company recipe?
Berry Brioche Baked French Toast
- 1 loaf Brioche
- 1/2 Cup Butter
- 6 Medium Eggs
- 1 Cup Milk or Half and Half
- 1 Teaspoon Orange Flavoring May substitute vanilla
- 1/4 Cup Pecan Halves optional
- 1/2 Cup Fresh Blueberries
- 1/2 Cup Sliced Fresh Strawberries
- Melt butter in bottom of 9x13 baking dish.
- Slice brioche into 12 slices and then half each slice again.
- Lay bread on top of melted butter in baking dish. Try to spread bread evenly.
- Whisk six eggs.
- Add your once cup milk or half and half.
- Whisk eggs and half and half mixture together, and add teaspoon of orange flavoring.
- Pour egg mixture over bread.
- Sprinkle with pecans.
- Cover bread and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, and up to overnight.
- When you remove the dish from the refrigerator, set it on the counter so that it can come closer to room temperature before you place it in the oven. I wait at least 30 minutes, because I don't want that dish to crack!
- This is when I preheat my oven to 375 degrees.
- When dish is at room temperature, or close to it, place in oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes, or until it turns golden brown and has cooked through.
- Top with berries. I like to use a combination of fresh blueberries and fresh strawberries. May also sift with powdered sugar.
- Serve warm with fresh whipped cream, and honey or maple syrup. May also top with sugared berries.