Who doesn't look forward to waking up on weekends to something fancy and different? Let's be honest, during the week, you're in such a rush that breakfast usually ends up being the same old, same old. I go through a rotation of grits, fried egg on toast, and maybe a waffle or pancake. EVERY DAY, EVERY WEEK. So when the weekend comes, I like to treat myself to something nice that I normally don't have the time to make during the week.
When I saw this Blueberry Cheesecake French Toast on Little Spice Jar, I just had to try it! I went with whatever fruit was on special, which happened to be strawberries. I was so excited I couldn't wait! I love cheesecake anything and a baked French toast is significantly easier for me than traditional French toast.
STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE
STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE:
- 1 (14-ounce) loaf french bread (or brioche or challah), cubed
- 1 ¼ cup fresh or frozen strawberries
- 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, cut into cubes (not low fat)
- 2 cups milk
- ½ cup EACH: heavy cream and light brown sugar
- 8 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon EACH: sea salt, almond extract, and ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup maple syrup or honey
- ⅓ cup EACH: all-purpose flour and light brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons salted butter, cold and cubed
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- PREP: Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Place ½ the diced bread in the pan and layer on ½ the strawberries and ½ the cubed cream cheese, repeat the layers starting with bread and ending with cream cheese; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together all the remaining casserole ingredients. Pour the prepared custard over the bread. Cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and ideally, overnight.
- STREUSEL: combine streusel ingredients in a small bowl. Using your fingertips, mix together until the butter breaks down into smaller pieces. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and ideally, overnight.
- BAKE: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350ºF. Sprinkle the prepared streusel mixture over the casserole evenly. Bake the casserole for 48-55 minutes or until the casserole is no longer jiggly. You may need to tent the casserole with a piece of foil if it starts browning too quickly around the 30-40 minute mark, I didn’t. Let cool for several minutes before slicing and serving! Fresh fruit and whipped cream would go great with this!
- if you have unsalted butter, just add a small pinch of salt to the streusel topping mixture.
- You can make this gluten-free by using gluten-free bread/flour. To make it dairy-free you can replace the milk/cream with almond, soy, cashew, or coconut milk. To give it a little richness, you can swap the heavy cream amount for equal parts coconut cream.
- If you don't have butter for the streusel topping, you can always use 5 tablespoons cream cheese.
And there you have it! A simple strawberry cheesecake French toast casserole that will comfortably feed 8-10 people.
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