Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Blackberry French Toast Bake (dairy free)

The place I got this recipe from called it bread pudding and stated they served it for dessert. I wanted french toast however and the recipe looked no different than what ingredients would go into an overnight french toast casserole, so it became breakfast.

We had a surplus of blackberry-like berries and so I had a day of figuring out ways to use them up. This was the first method of the day and it turned out pretty great. I did increase the fruit and decrease the sugar content however. I was expecting to need to put some butter or maple syrup over the top of it, but it was absolutely unnecessary. The only problem was because it needed to be dairy free, I had to use soy milk/almond milk instead of cream / half and half. It wasn't a big deal, but there was just a little bit extra liquid that sat in the bottom because it wasn't as thick of a custard. With the leftovers we just scooped the bread out of the excess moisture, put it in a container and microwaved it the next day and it was great. Not soggy at all.

If you don't want to go dairy free / low fat, check out the original recipe at A Spicy Perspective. Otherwise, just substitute any milk / cream product to a total of five cups. So skim milk, coconut milk, whole milk, whatever works for you.

After eating this, I got to thinking and as great as this was, I tend to have a surplus of sweet breakfast recipes in my arsenal, simply because while I love bacon and fried potatoes, etc. I hate eggs. Omelettes, bennies, scrambled, I can't do it if it's an egg dish. French toast on the other hand, while it has eggs, it is baked into bread, so is more liked a baked good and there is no resemblance to egginess.

So this thinking resulted in me thinking up what I'm going to do next with this recipe. Savoury bread pudding! Some green peppers, onions, mushrooms, maybe some ham or bacon crumbled in and omit the vanilla / cinnamon / nutmeg and replace it with some italian seasonings or poultry seasonings. The poultry would make it very much like my Mom's stuffing however. So we'll see how it goes.

A couple of hints with this recipe though, the recipe I found called for good quality, bakery bread. This was a spur of the moment thing though and I only had two half loaves of sandwich bread in the freezer and it worked just fine. It was even good that it was frozen, because the fluffiness can make it hard to cube, and cutting it frozen worked great.

Also, as for the sugar, I'm thinking it might be good to divide the sugar up and do 1 C. white, 3/4 C. brown or some combo like that. Just to try it out for next time.

Final also...while this may fit in a 9x13 baking dish, I have a bigger casserole dish that I used. It's not as long or wide as it's kind of oval shaped, but it's deeper and it worked well for this. I don't know the exact volume of it, but I just use it when I'm concerned that something might puff up in a 9x13 and spill out.

Serves 8


1 lb Bread, 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 C. Blackberries
1 Nectarine, cubed
1 C. Blueberries
5 C. Milk (see note above. I used 4 C. Almond milk, 1 C. Fat Free Vanilla Soy Milk)
8 Eggs
1 3/4 C. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp. Salt


~Preheat oven to 350 F
~Place bread, fruit and berries into baking dish and toss to evenly distribute
~Combine the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk until frothy.
~Pour mixture over bread and fruit
~Bake for 1 hr, 15 min. Centre may still look moist, but not soggy
~Let stand for 10 min.


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