Baked French Toast with Peaches and Crumb ToppingWednesday, July 17, 2013
Your brunch game is about to sky rocket.
This peach-stuffed, crumb-topped, baked French toast is everything you ever wanted in a summer brunch dish. It’s like the most decadent, peachy keen French toast you’ve ever had…wrapped in a crumb cake. And best of all, you can make it all ahead of time, which means stress-free entertaining.
Perfect, ripe, summer peaches are the inspiration for this French toast. The markets are exploding with peaches of all kinds, and I’m compulsively buying them like nobody’s business. I mean, just look at these beauties. How could anyone resist? They look like summer, smell like honey, and taste like golden California sunshine.
If we were playing Catchphrase, I’d say, “Peaches!” and you would naturally say, “Cream!” right? Yes, very good. We make a good team. Well, the cream in this dish is a lightly sweetened cream cheese and ricotta mixture, reminiscent of cannoli cream. This mixture gets spread over slices of challah bread (you could really use any bread you’d like, brioche would push the decadence up another dial, or good crusty French bread would be classic), and melds with the bread as it bakes, adding a wonderful creaminess as the peaches melt in.
To assemble this easy, overnight baked French toast, we start with a layer of the bread, slathered with the cream cheese/ricotta mixture, and then a layer of those gorgeous sliced peaches.
Repeat with another layer of bread with cream cheese/ricotta, filling in any empty corners with torn pieces of bread.
Top with a second layer of peaches.
And end with your third and final layer of bread, this time with the cream cheese/ricotta facing down. Pour over your liquid mixture of eggs, milk, melted butter, maple syrup, and vanilla, cover and let it all sit in the fridge overnight. As you get your beauty rest, your peaches and cream and bread will get cozy and soak up all that goodness.
While we’re planning ahead, like the perfectly put together and organized hostess we are, let’s go ahead and prep that crumb topping. I like to use cake flour rather than all purpose flour because it results in a more tender crumb, but if you’re in a pinch, APF with a few tablespoons of cornstarch mixed in will work just fine, you’ll just have a crunchier, drier topping. The cake flour version though, is out of this world. Put the crumb mixture in an airtight container and stash it in the fridge too.
When you arise, all bright-eyed and refreshed, simply sprinkle the crumb mixture over the French toast and bake it off until it’s GBD: golden, brown, and delicious.
You will look like a domestic goddess when this baked French Toast hits the table. Your guests may be confused. Is it a crumb cake? A peach streusel? Bread pudding? Let’s just call it French toast so we can eat it for breakfast, mmkay?
Baked French Toast with Peaches and Crumb Topping
This baked French toast is stuffed with summer peaches and generously finished with a streusel crumb topping. It’s like peaches and cream meets French toast, wrapped in a crumb cake. You’ll be the hero of any brunch gathering with this make-ahead, decadent, peachy keen dish.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield: 8 big servings
For the French Toast
1 loaf of challah bread (or your favorite bread)
5 oz cream cheese
4.5 oz (1/2 cup) ricotta
1 tablespoon sugar
4 ripe peaches, sliced
6 large eggs
2 cups milk
4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
For the Crumb Topping
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cup cake flour*
- Cut your loaf of bread into 1-inch slices. Place a layer of bread down in the pan. Fill in any gaps with torn pieces of bread so that the entire bottom of the pan is covered.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, ricotta, and sugar until well combined.
- Evenly spread a third of the cream cheese and ricotta mixture over the layer of bread. Layer on half of the sliced peaches. Repeat with another layer of bread with a third of the cream cheese mixture spread on (filling in any gaps with torn pieces of bread), and a layer of the remaining peaches.
- Now spread the remaining cream cheese mixture on the third and final layer of bread, and place it on top with the cream cheese mixture face down. Fill in gaps with torn bread. You should now have a total of 3 layers of bread smeared with the cream cheese mixture, and 2 layers of peaches.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for a few hours, or overnight.
- To make the crumb topping, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour over the melted butter and stir to evenly incorporate. Stir in the cake flour and mix until thick crumbs form (I use my fingers). Cover and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake off the French toast.
- When you’re ready to eat, preheat oven to 350 F. Scatter the crumb topping over the French toast (if it’s hardened too much to handle, microwave the crumb mixture 30 seconds to soften) and bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes, or until it is set and golden brown.
* I find that actual cake flour works best, but if in a pinch, use a mixture of all purpose flour and cornstarch. For every 1 cup APF, take out 2 tablespoons APF and replace with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
This post was published on KQED’s Bay Area Bites on July 10, 2013.