Berry French Toast Casserole

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This berry french toast casserole is perfect for special occasions or weekend brunch! It can be prepped ahead and baked in the morning. Easy, delicious and a total crowd pleaser!

Berry French Toast Casserole | lifemadesimplebakes.com

We’re well into summer now which means our fridge is FULL of berries.

Fresh, juicy, ripe berries. Swoon. ❤💙💜

While we love to snack on them during the day, with meals and on the go, we often find ourselves wondering what to do with the few that get left behind. This lovely layered french toast casserole was the perfect solution.

Berry French Toast Casserole | lifemadesimplebakes.com

My kids loved eating this for breakfast because they said it was like a treasure hunt. Behind each chunk of challah was a hidden pocket of fruit and cream cheese. A surprise in each bite.

It all starts with a good loaf of bread. For this particular recipe I’d suggest grabbing challah, brioche or french bread. Something sweet and buttery. Let it sit on the counter for a few days to get stale. The drier it gets the better it will absorb the custard base. Cut it into 1-inch cubes and place half of it into a 9×13-inch baking dish.

Berry French Toast Casserole | lifemadesimplebakes.com

Next add 1 1/2 cups of mixed berries along with half of an 8 oz. block of cream cheese cut into cubes. Add the remaining bread over top along with the remaining berries and cream cheese.

Berry French Toast Casserole | lifemadesimplebakes.com

To make the base, in a large mixing bowl whisk together milk, heavy cream, brown sugar, eggs, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract. I used a good teaspoon each of my favorite extracts to really bump up the flavor. P.S. Nielsen-Massey just came out with an organic line of pure extracts and they are divine. 👌

Pour over the top of the casserole, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

Be patient! The longer it sits the more the bread will absorb and the less likely it is to have a custardy bottom.

Berry French Toast Casserole | lifemadesimplebakes.com

In the morning preheat the oven and make the topping. It’s a simple mixture of flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter. Sprinkle it over top, then add a few sliced almonds for added crunch. They’ll get nice and toasty while the casserole bakes.

Because this is a deep casserole, it will take at least 1 hour to bake. I pulled mine at the 75 minute mark (I prefer it to be on the drier side). The top should be nice and golden brown and it should have risen slightly as it baked. Note: the casserole will fall slightly as it cools, this is normal.

Berry French Toast Casserole | lifemadesimplebakes.com

Give the casserole 15 minutes to cool, then cut and serve. Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with maple syrup. 😍

Berry French Toast Casserole | lifemadesimplebakes.com

This berry french toast casserole has it all! Not too sweet, loaded with ALL the textures, and perfectly flavored with hints of cinnamon and almond. It’s the kind of dish you make for special occasions and weekend brunch. A beautiful breakfast that everyone will absolutely love!

Berry French Toast Casserole

This berry french toast casserole is perfect for special occasions or weekend brunch! It can be prepped ahead and baked in the morning. Easy, delicious and a total crowd pleaser!

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf challah, brioche or french bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 cups mixed berries*
  • 1 (8 oz.) block original cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the base:

  • 1 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. coarse kosher sea salt

For the topping:

  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 7 tbsp. unsalted butter, cold and cut into tablespoons
  • 1/4 c. sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Lightly butter the bottom of a tall 9×13-inch baking dish. Add half of the cubed bread into the pan. Top with half of the mixed berries and cubed cream cheese. Add remaining bread over top along with remaining berries and cream cheese.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the milk, cream, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon and salt. Pour over the bread, coating it evenly. Cover dish with a sheet of foil and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Meanwhile, make the topping in a medium mixing bowl. Combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter in until pea size clumps form. Stir in the almonds. Remove the foil from the baking dish and sprinkle topping on.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 60-75 minutes or until set. The top should be golden brown in color and the middle should spring back when touched. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with maple syrup, if desired.

* I used one cup of each: blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.

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