I meant to post this recipe for blueberry brioche French toast casserole before October came around, but then October came around, and very quickly. I mean seriously, can we even believe it’s October already? I’m still thinking it’s June and school just got out, for crying out loud.
Alas, it is October indeed, and I’m beginning to embrace it. Call me basic, but I am very much a lover of all things fall — the cool air, the colored leaves, the warm drinks, the chunky sweaters and scarves and cozy breakfasts like this blueberry brioche number served with a hot cup of coffee. Yes, please.
I dropped a few hints to this recipe when I posted the recipe for Classic Brioche Loaf Bread. Though the brioche bread is mighty delicious on its own, it’s also incredibly versatile and makes for a fantastic overnight breakfast casserole, like this one, bursting with fresh blueberries and a crumbly oat streusel studded with almonds.
This particular casserole is my spirit casserole, if you will, because while it tastes sweet, it’s not overly indulgent or heavy. It’s not too eggy or greasy, either, as some casseroles tend to be. But it’s also not dry or devoid of flavor. So many overnight casseroles I’ve tried tragically fall into any one (or more) of these categories, so I made sure this recipe was foolproof from all such offenses by reducing the amount of eggs typically used, swapping in some applesauce and also using whole milk. It makes this recipe satisfying but not so decadent that you need to take a nap immediately after eating it, ya know? (Though sometimes a mid-morning nap sounds glorious, let’s all be honest.)
My favorite way to serve this casserole is topped with a dusting of powdered sugar, a sprinkle of a few extra berries (you could top it with other fruits, too, like raspberries or bananas!) and a generous drizzle of maple syrup. And the assembly is so easy that, while this dish obviously wins all the prizes as a weekend brunch option, you can make it on a school night, too! Just put it together right before bed, sprinkle it with streusel in the morning, bake it up (get ready for the day or just sit and drink some hot coffee in sweet, sweet silence while it’s baking, pro tip) and serve it up to your people. It will make everyone’s day.
OK, fall, I’m officially ready for you. Bring on all the colorful leaves and chunky sweaters and copious amounts of cozy French toast casserole.
- 1 loaf classic brioche loaf bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 pint (2 cups) fresh blueberries, divided
- 5 eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup applesauce
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Arrange brioche bread cubes in 13x9-inch pan in single layer. Top with 1½ cups blueberries.
- In large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, applesauce, maple syrup, almond extract, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour mixture evenly over bread and blueberries in baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
- The next day, heat oven to 350 degrees F. In medium bowl, stir oat topping ingredients until well combined. Sprinkle evenly over top of bread mixture in pan. Top with remaining ½ cup blueberries.
- Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour until mixture is baked through (you'll know it's done if you make a small cut in the center of the casserole and no egg mixture leaks through). If top of casserole gets too brown during baking, cover with foil halfway through.
- Serve warm with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, a drizzle of maple syrup and more fresh blueberries, if desired.