The seasons have officially changed, well at least in Las Vegas. We went from 100 degrees one week to windy and 75 another. Starbucks was a little premature when rolling out their fall classic, the Pumpkin Spice latte, back in August, when there was no reminisance of fall in the air. Now that we are in October, it is finally justifiable to have the flavors of fall such as pumpkin.
One of my classic dishes I have been doing for about the past 3 years is a Pumpkin Baked French Toast. The best way to describe this dish is to say it would be the result of French Toast and Bread Pudding having a baby. This dish could be served for breakfast, brunch, dessert, or a late night snack. You can have it hot, or how I usually eat it, cold (straight from the fridge). This dish is quite sweet on its own thanks to the carmelized streusel topping, but it is decadent when served warm with a drizzle of maple syrup over the top (just expect to crash later from a sugar overload).
This was the first recipe that I had tried for a baked French Toast, and ever since trying it, I’ve loved the concept. It’s a dish that with a consistent base, you can mix and match flavors however you want. I have come up with variations such as lemon curd with a raspberry jam topping, Bananas Foster, Pb and J, Apple and bacon, and the list of possibilities are endless.
What makes this recipe so successful is using good quality ingredients. When I first started making this dish I would source my ingredients from Whole Foods because that is where I worked and I knew those were some of the best quality ingredients that I could find. The price would be a little higher, but the quality of the ingredients takes this dish to the very next level, making it worth every penny. Two of the ingredients that I would source from Whole Foods was the brioche bread and whole milk.
The milk comes from Straus Family Creamery in Nothern California. I choose this milk because of the classic preparations and packeging of the product. The milk is pasteurized and non-homogenized certified Organic dairy packaged in glass bottles with the cream at the top. When buying it don’t be alarmed with the cream at the top, just take a butter knife and mix it in. This full fat milk is rich with flavor because of the cows diet of sweet grasses that are unique to the coastal climates of the Tomales Bay region in NorCal.
The Brioche Bread comes from Euroclassic, an American based company that imports some of the best quality European treats. This bread is the ideal loaf of brioche for making French Toast. This light, airy, buttery braided brioche loaf is made with unbleached/unbromated and low gluten content wheat flour, cage free eggs, French pastry butter and creme fraiche. Butter truly makes everything better, and European butter is the best you can get.
I hope you get to try these recipes and enjoy them as much as we do, and remember to always stay creative and hungry!
Pumpkin Baked French Toast with a buttery Cinnamon Struesel Topping
For the French Toast
- 1 loaf of Brioche Bread
- 6 large Eggs
- 2 1/2 cups Milk
- 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
- 3/4 cups Granulated Sugar
- 2 tablespoons Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
- 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
- 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 cup Butter, cut into cubes
- Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray
- Cut or tear the brioche bread into cubes, and place evenly in the pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together eggs, milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour the mixture over the bread.
- Cover the pan with saran wrap and store in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight ( my preference is to prepare this the night before you bake it).
- In a separate mixing bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter and cut into the dry mixture with a fork or your hands. Combine until the mixture resembles sand with a few pea sized chunks. Cover and store mixture in the refrigerator until use.
- When ready to bake your French Toast, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the French Toast from the refrigerator and sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the top.
- Bake for 44-55 minutes, or until the custard has set and the topping is golden brown
- Serve warm, but can also eat it cold (thats how i usually eat it)
For more information on custards and their many uses visit my Tip Tuesday on Custards from 10/4/16
Also tune in the next two months for different variations of this dish when I share my recipes for Apple Cider Donut Baked French Toast and Eggnog Baked French Toast.