I don’t know who came up with the overnight French toast idea, but I need to shake their hand. It really is the best thing for a busy morning with extra guests around the breakfast table! We were lucky enough to get to spend some time with our friend, Chris, and his beautiful daughter, Natalie, a couple of Saturdays ago as they passed through town. Having this (mostly) prepped the night before and ready to pop in the oven sure did make that visit more enjoyable.
Friday night, I sliced up a crusty French baguette into inch-thick slices.
I buttered my 9×13 inch baking dish and filled the dish with the bread slices. I laid them out, side by side, and then tore off pieces to stick in the small spots and holes. I made sure my pan was as filled as it could get with the bread layer.
Then, I beat together some eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt.
When the mixture was nice and frothy, I poured it over my bread in the pan.
Then, I covered the pan and popped it into the fridge to hang out for the night.
The next morning, as my oven was preheating, I mixed together my apple topping. Into a large bowl went six Granny Smith apples that I’d peeled and sliced up thinly, some lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, a dab of maple syrup, some melted butter, and just a pinch of salt.
I spread the apple topping evenly over the egg soaked bread, and then, it was ready to pop into the oven.
The French Toast baked for about fifty minutes. I checked it after forty, but the egg in the middle still hadn’t set. If you check the French toast and it’s still really jiggly in the middle, give it a few more minutes. At this point, too, it was HUGELY puffy, and some of the apples had even popped off of the top as it puffed and were now sizzling on the bottom of my oven. To remedy this, I’d recommend placing a sheet of aluminum foil on the oven rack under your pan, so that the apples don’t end up burning onto your oven.
I also laid a sheet of aluminum foil over the apples during the last few minutes of cooking, just so they wouldn’t scorch.
Once the bake seemed just about set, I removed the pan from the oven and let it sit for about ten minutes before I cut into it. Letting the dish be for a few minutes makes it much easier to slice, as everything settles down into place.
When it was time to eat, I sliced the French toast up, drizzled it with maple syrup and served it alongside fresh fruit and bacon. The apples had softened, and caramelized just a bit, and the french toast itself had set up beautifully. It was delicious, and a perfect way to welcome our friends into our new home. Plus, since it was pretty hands off, I could actually spend time with them because I wasn’t bustling around the kitchen.
OVERNIGHT BAKED APPLE FRENCH TOAST
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
- 1 day-old baguette, about 18 to 20 inches long, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 8 large eggs
- 3 cups milk (I used skim)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 5 to 6 Granny Smith apples (1¾ to 2 pounds), peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Lightly butter a 9x13 inch glass baking dish.
- Arrange the bread slices in the bottom of the dish. Tear some pieces to fit in the holes, so the entire bottom of the pan is covered.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. When combined well, pour over the bread in the pan. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning, preheat your oven to 375*F.
- As the oven is preheating, prepare your apple topping. In a large bowl, combine the sliced apples with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup, salt and melted butter.
- Spread the apple slices evenly over the egg-soaked bread.
- Place the pan in the oven, and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the eggs in the middle are just about set. (As a precaution, lay a large sheet of foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any falling apples that might appear if the toast puffs up too much while baking. It will deflate once removed from the oven.)
- When you go to remove the pan from the oven, if it's still really jiggly, bake it for a few more minutes. If the apples on top start to brown up too quickly, lay a sheet of foil over the top of the pan as it bakes.
- Let the french toast bake rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.