It's time for another Secret Recipe Club (SRC) recipe. In case you're new to this, here's how it works. Each of the food bloggers participating in the SRC is secretly assigned another food blog. The assignment is to choose a recipe from that blog, make the recipe (or an adaptation of it) and feature it in a post. The blog matches are a secret to the other blogger until reveal day. That day is today! Make sure you read to the end of this post for links to the other participants and their recipes. Someone will be blogging about one of my recipes, but I don't know who.
This month, my assignment was to choose a recipe from The Heritage Cook. It's a fun blog by Jane, who learned to cook at her grandmother's side. Jane clearly inherited the cooking gene. Along with regularly sharing a large assortment of great recipes, her blog has fun special features twice a week on Chocolate Mondays and Festive Fridays.
It took me a long time to browse Jane's amazing collection of recipes and choose just one to try. I was in a breakfast kind of mood, so I narrowed it down to her enticing list of breakfast options. I finally settled on her recipe for Baked Blueberry French Toast. I love that you make it the day before so it's ready to pop in the oven when you get up in the morning. Jane has a number of make-ahead breakfast options, so make sure you check them out.
I love the simplicity of Jane's recipe and only made minor tweaks. I substituted whole grain bread for white and used 2% milk in place of whole milk--makes it a wee bit healthier. I also added a whole grain streusel topping for some extra crunch and flavor. It is so easy to make, and it totally passes the yummy test. So good!
Step-by-step photos for making Baked Blueberry Whole Grain French Toast
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients: whole grain baguette (or similar bakery bread loaf), eggs, 2% milk, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon blueberries (fresh or frozen), whole wheat pastry flour, old fashioned rolled oats, butter, pecans (optional)
Step 2. Whisk together the eggs, just until well combined.
Step 3. Add the vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, and milk. Whisk it until well combined.
Step 4. Slice the bread loaf in 1" slices. I cut mine diagonally to increase the surface area of each slice. I like to leave the crusts on, although Jane's recipe calls for cutting off the crusts.
Step 5. Layer the bread slices in 2 rows in a buttered 9x13 baking dish. If you're using a wider-shaped bread loaf, you may need to cut each slice in half in order to get it to fit into even rows.
Step 6. Pour the egg & milk mixture over the bread slices, separating the slices as you pour so the mixture runs between each slice. Don't worry if the slices aren't completely immersed; they will eventually soak up the custard mixture like sponges.
Step 7. If using frozen blueberries, thaw, rinse, and drain them. If using fresh berries, rinse and drain them. I used frozen blueberries, since fresh berries are out of season.
Step 8. Evenly sprinkle the blueberries onto the bread slices, separating the slices to allow some of the berries to fall between the slices.
Step 9. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or as long as 18 hours. (LOVE the convenience of doing this so far in advance!)
MIX THE WHOLE GRAIN STREUSEL TOPPING
Step 10. Combine whole wheat pastry flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Step 11. Add the butter and cut it into the dry mixture using two forks, a pastry blender, or your fingers. (Your fingers work easily for this small amount.) Keep mixing until it's crumbly.
Step 12. Add pecans, if you're a nut person. If not, leave them out.
Set the streusel aside to add right before baking. This can be made the night before so it's ready to add to the dish in the morning.
The next day...
After the overnight time in the fridge, the bread will have soaked up much of the custard liquid; although it's fine if there's still some liquid remaining in the bottom of the dish. It will cook in.
Step 13. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top of the bread slices.
Step 14. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until the streusel is lightly browned and there is no visible liquid left; the center should be moist, but not watery. If the streusel begins to brown too much before the custard is completely cooked, place a loose sheet of aluminum foil over the top during the last 10 minutes or so of baking. That browned streusel topping adds delicious crunch to this dish.
Remove from oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
The bread slices are softened, but not soggy, from the absorbed custard. They hold their shape, so it's easy to remove individual slices and serve.
It looks so inviting on the plate! The flavor & texture combination of custardy bread, blueberries, and crunchy streusel topping is fantastic.
Drizzle the French toast with maple syrup or blueberry sauce. My easy, 10-minute blueberry sauce recipe put's this French toast over the top.
One bite convinced me that this recipe is a keeper. It is perfect for a brunch or to serve overnight guests. And, it's so, so easy!
Make it a Yummy day! Monica
Make-Ahead Baked Blueberry Whole Grain French Toast with Streusel Topping
Servings: Serves 6-8
1 (16-oz.) whole grain French bagette (or similar bakery bread loaf)
2 cups 2% milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2-1/2 cups fresh blueberries; or 1 (12 oz) bag frozen blueberries, thawed, rinsed & drained
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
ASSEMBLE FRENCH TOAST: Butter a 9x13 baking dish. Cut bagette diagonally into 1" slices. Layer slices in two rows in baking dish. In large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, brown sugar, and cinnamon (or use electric mixer). Pour over bread slices, separating slices as you pour so the mixture gets between them. Sprinkle on blueberries, again separating the slices so that some of the berries fall between them. Cover and refrigerate overnight (max. of 18 hours). MAKE STREUSEL (may be made the night before and sprinkled on before baking the next day): In medium bowl whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, oats, brown sugar, & cinnamon. Cut in butter using two forks, a pastry blender, or your fingers. Mix until combined and crumbly. Add pecans, if desired, and mix. Set aside. TO BAKE: Remove baking dish from refrigerator and bring to room temperature (approx. 30 min.). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle streusel evenly over top of bread slices. Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes, until cooked through, lightly browned, and there is no visible liquid. Center should be moist but not runny. To prevent over browning, loosely lay a sheet of aluminum foil over top during last 10 minutes, if necessary. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with maple syrup or blueberry sauce.
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