Thursday, January 14, 2010

Apple Stuffed French Toast with Vanilla Sauce




I generally am not someone who gets real fancy for breakfast. I like a good cereal, or sometimes a piece of toast. Maybe you'll get me to have a piece of fruit or something... there's just not a lot that gets me excited about breakfast in the morning.

But when you're talking about Brunch? Oh yeah I am all about that! And I love making brunch as much as I love eating it. If you want my opinion nothing is quite as good as a good breakfast casserole. That's where my mom and grandmother's Apple Stuffed French Toast Casserole comes in!

Oh yes. This is the stuff brunch dreams are made of!

Let's get this show on the road, shall we?



There are a few things of note in this picture. First off, those apples are Gala apples. You can use any baking apple really but I would not recommend a a bitter apple. Something like a Gala, Jonagold, Golden Delicious... or even Fuji would work. A Granny Smith is a good baking apple, but you're really going to have to compensate for the bitterness of this apple.

Second, there is only one loaf of cinnamon bread. You need two. I didn't really think that two loaves would really fit in the picture plus, while I was taking this picture the husband was out getting my second loaf of bread from the grocery store. Because I forgot like goober.

I'm not always so put together after all!

Now we have to first peel our apples...



And core them as well...




Now you can do this one of two ways. You can use a core/slicer or just a apple core tool and either have thin wedges or cut to have rings. I unfortunately do not have just a corer so you're stuck with wedges with me.

The problem is that the wedge doesn't cut these apples anywhere near thin enough.



And when I say thin I mean it...



I mean it. This used to be one wedge. Make those cuts thin, otherwise your apples are not going to cook down and you're going to end up with crunchy apples in the casserole... ew.

Now take your first loaf of bread and cube it. I like 4 by 4 cuts myself.



And get those cubes into a greased 9"x13" pan. Press them down a bit so that they are pretty condensed, you really shouldn't have any gaps in this layer.

Go ahead and cube that 8 oz of cream cheese and cut that into cubes as well, dotting that first layer of bread cubes with your new cream cheese cubes.



Now it's time to cook the apples down a little bit.

Go ahead and throw in a whole stick of butter...



2/3 cup of brown sugar...



1 Tablespoon of water...



And throw in your apples...



And cook until slightly soft. Really, this is only going to take 3 to 5 minutes, depending on which apples you choose. Since I did use the Gala apples I had a 5 minute cook time. You don't want them to be mushy for sure though.

They should look something like this...



And go ahead and spread this mixture, brown sugar syrup and all over your existing bread and cream cheese.



Cube your second loaf of bread. Go ahead and spread this over the existing mixture and press down slightly. Why press down? Well... you'll see.

It's time to start making your egg mixture!

You are going to need a dozen eggs...



2 teaspoons of vanilla...



1/3 cup of maple syrup...



And 2 cups of milk...



Go ahead and mix everything together until it's well combined. Now you are going to slowly pour this over the entire bread/apple/cream cheese mixture.



Did you hear me?! I said slowly! Take a measuring cup and do this by the cup full if you have to! I have egg stains on my counters to attest to this piece of advice.

Make sure that every inch of bread is covered for right now. Don't worry about the bread on the bottom, that egg mixture will soak towards the bottom.



Be sure to get those corners too, they tend to get forgotten from time to time.

Top this entire thing with some sprinkled cinnamon (this is optional, but darn it I like it!) and cover it. You're going to put this in the fridge overnight.

You heard me.

Go watch some primetime TV, get some popcorn or some leftover apples (Hope you didn't get those granny smiths!) and head to bed.

When you first get up in the morning, take the pan out of the fridge. This needs to sit out at least 30 minutes before you plop it in the oven. Turn your oven to 350 though and let it preheat.

Now that you have that beautiful french toast in the oven, time to make the vanilla sauce! Get together your players...



For the love of god use Whole Milk. All I had in the house was 1% and it made the thickening of this sauce take forever. It thickened, but who wants to sit and stir for an hour?!

Now seperate your two eggs, you're only going to be using the yolks here.



And combine the 1 and 1/4 cup with the 2 yolks until it looks like...

Well...

Yellow snow really.

The recipe says light and fluffy but I don't buy it. This is just the snow I didn't eat when I was little.



See?!

Ugh, anyway combine the 4 cups of milk with 2 teaspoons of vanilla...



Now, keep in mind this originally was a vanilla bean recipe. However, I do not have the funds at the moment for a $6.00 vanilla bean so the two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract worked just as well. If you'd like to splurge on the bean however, just scrape out the insides and mix with the milk, as well as throwing the bean in. You'll take the bean out when you mix this with the yellow snow.

Bring the milk/vanilla mixture to the scalding point. For those that don't know, the scalding point is the temp right before boiling. You'll know when it comes... your milk will start to get tiny bubbles on the side. This is when you want to take it off the heat and mix this with your yellow snow very slowly while stirring very quickly...



You really don't want those yolks to cook! Gradually mix the milk/vanilla with the sugar and yolks and place it in a double boiler.



I promise that a makeshift double boiler works just as well. You're going to stir this consistently until it comes to heat. And this will thicken as it heats up as well, in fact it should coat the back of your spoon. Then you know it is ready!

And speaking of ready...



35 minutes covered in the oven and 40 minutes uncovered in the oven has made for a beautiful stuffed french toast!

Let it cool slightly, cut it up, put it on your plate and drizzle some of that vanilla sauce on top...



Well I don't know about you guys... but I know what I'm having for breakfast, lunch AND dinner today!!

Apple Stuffed French Toast Casserole

2 loafs (16 oz) Cinnamon Bread
8 oz cream cheese
3 to 4 large cooking apples, peeled and sliced thin
1 stick butter or margarine
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon water
1 dozen eggs
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup maple syrup
Cinnamon (if desired)

Peel, core and slice your apples. These slices can be in wedges or rings.

Cube the first loaf of bread and place in the bottom of a greased 9"x13" pan. Dot with cubed cream cheese.

Combine the butter, brown sugar, water and apples in a pan. Cook until slightly softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Cover the cubed bread and cream cheese with this mixture, top with the second loaf of cubed bread.

Combine eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and milk, mix until completely combined. Pour over the bread and apple mixture, making sure every piece of bread is soaked. Sprinkle cinnamon over mixture if desired. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Take out of the refrigerator at least a 1/2 hour before baking. Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees (covered). Uncover and bake an additional 30-40 minutes or until the casserole is set.

Serve with maple syrup or vanilla sauce.


Vanilla (Bean) Sauce

4 cups whole milk
1 and 1/4 cups of sugar
2 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine the egg yolk and sugar in a mixing bowl. Whip until light and fluffy.

Bring the milk to the scalding point with the vanilla bean/vanilla extract; gradually purding the hot cream into the yolk mixture while stirring rapidly.

Place the mixture over simmering water and heat slowly, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

5 comments:

  1. OMG my mouth is watering!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Great detail, it was like I was right there in the kitchen with you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That looks amazing! I'm going to have to 1. make it a gazillion times now, and 2. give the recipe to my future mother-in-law so she stops making egg casserole. :-p

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is pretty yummy! I added nuts, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves plus halved the recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This looks divine. You mention the cost of vanilla beans. I discovered bags of nine quality beans for $10 at our local beverage store that sells beer brewing supplies. Much more affordable.

    ReplyDelete

 
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