Demo Kitchen Recipe: Stuffed French Toast Casserole with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote
Here we have the second installment in the Demo Kitchens three-part brunch series and it’s for the sweet tooth in all of us.
One thing about this recipe is certain; The Poor Knights of Windsor never had it so good when it came to their “lost bread”. No Sir, this is a pain perdu fit for the most well-heeled lover of breakfast and brunch due to its sweet creamy filling and a seasonally inspired fruit compote.
Serves 8-12 or more as part of a brunch buffet.
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2/3 cup honey (orange blossom or wildflower preferred)
- 4 cups 1/4”-thick sliced rhubarb
- 3 cups 1/4”-thick sliced strawberries
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
- In a medium saucepan, bring orange juice and honey to a simmer and reduce volume by half.
- Add rhubarb and strawberries. Cook, stirring, until tender. About 5 minutes, longer if you prefer to break down the fruit a bit more.
- Remove from heat and stir in orange zest, vanilla, spices, and salt.
French Toast Casserole
- 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cooled compote
- 12 cups 1” cubes of stale French bread, brioche or challah
- 9 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Make the filling - Using an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Add vanilla and compote, blend thoroughly. (You can use more compote if you like. The cream cheese mixture should be sweet and pink but not runny. So don’t overdo it.
- Generously butter a 9x13 baking dish. Cover the bottom of the dish with half of the cubed bread. Dollop cream cheese mixture randomly but as evenly as possible over the bread cubes. Top with remaining bread.
- Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, and salt; making sure to thoroughly break up the egg whites.
- Pour custard evenly over the bread. The bread may float at first if it is very dry so push down to soak it in the custard. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F and remove casserole from refrigerator. Unwrap and dot the top of the casserole with little pieces of butter, about 4 tbsp total.
- Bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes (it will take longer if the casserole is straight out of the fridge) or until puffy and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Serve with warm compote, a dusting of powdered sugar and mint sprig for garnish.
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