Deep-Dish Brioche French Toast

Deep-Dish Brioche French Toast Recipe

This make-ahead Sunday brunch dish offers big rewards while letting you sleep in late. If you have leftovers, which will be doubtful, cover the dish with foil and refrigerate. When ready to serve, reheat covered in a moderate oven until warmed through.–David Leite

Deep-Dish Brioche French Toast Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 5 H, 25 M
  • Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • Butter, for greasing pan
  • One 24-ounce brioche loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese, cut into 18 cubes
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • To serve
  • Powdered sugar
  • Pure maple syrup, warmed

Directions

  • 1. Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking dish. Place half the bread cubes in a single layer, filling in all the gaps. Evenly scatter the cream cheese cubes, nuts, and raisins on top. Cover completely with the remaining bread cubes.
  • 2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Evenly pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes. Gently press down on the cubes with your palms to allow the top layer of bread to absorb the liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate four hours or overnight.
  • 3. Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Meanwhile, remove the dish from the refrigerator and let sit 20 minutes at room temperature. Bake the French toast covered for 20 minutes; uncover and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the cubes are nicely toasted and there’s no liquid puddling on the bottom. Transfer the dish to a rack and drizzle the melted butter on top. Run a knife around the rim of the pan to release the French toast. Let sit 5 minutes. Cut into squares, arrange on individual plates, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve along with the warmed maple syrup.
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Comments
Comments
  1. Elizabethbcello says:

    I have made this several times, substituting neufchatel for the cream cheese and skim milk, instead of whole milk, to cut down on the fat and calories. It tastes delicious and guests always ask for the recipe. It is very easy to make the night before.

  2. Madison says:

    When you put the French toast in the oven to bake, what should it be covered with? (I know this may be a stupid question, haha)

    • David Leite says:

      Not at all, Madison. When you’re finished assembling the French toast, you cover it with foil and place it in the fridge overnight. Then in the morning you just slide the foil-covered dish right into the oven.

  3. Kristen says:

    Is there a good substitute for brioche bread? Challah Jewish bread? Hawaiian? Couldn’t find brioche :(. Thoughts?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Kristen, I think either of those would work just fine. Any relatively rich, eggy, slightly sweet bread will bring the right measure indulgence to this French toast. Kindly let us know what which you choose to use and how it goes!

      • Kristen says:

        Went with hawaiian sweet rolls because they made it easy to break apart evenly, they came in a 24-oz pack, and they were cheaper than challah. Turned out wonderful!! :)

        • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

          Wonderful, Kristen! (And whew!) Thanks for reminding us all of other options that could take the place of the brioche….

        • David Leite says:

          Kristen, so glad to hear it. Tell me, is Hawaiian bread similar to Portuguese sweet bread?

          • Kristen says:

            Not sure – just used the store-bought “Hawaiian Sweet Rolls” (“King’s Hawaiian” brand).

            • David Leite says:

              Ah. Might be–or a distant cousin. I adore Portuguese sweet bread, which was brought to Hawaii.

              • Mary says:

                Hi, I am from Hawaii and grew up with Portuguese sweet bread. An old Portuguese man came to the house every week with his truck and would sell my Mom a loaf of the most wonderful and tender bread. Kings Bakery originally had a single location in Honolulu, where one could buy a rather processed version of the bread, but it sure was sweet and delicious. Same roots:) Kings was always supportive of youth groups and teams…they were our favorite fund raiser supporters! So thanks to the Portuguese sweet bread man and to wonderful Kings Bakery!!

                • David Leite says:

                  Mary, what a great memory. I had some Portuguese sweet bread when I was in Honolulu, and it was really wonderful. Also, the malassadas there are great! Very different than our, but nonetheless, fantastic!

  4. Christiana says:

    I’m going to attempt this for a potluck brunch on Wednesday morning – do you think it would cook the same in a disposable aluminum pan? I’d love to simply bake and bring to the potluck that morning, without the concern of transferring to a serving plate (which would require retrieval at the end of the day) . Plus, I think it would stay warmer if baked, sliced and served out of the disposable pan.
    Thoughts on baking in disposable tray vs. glass baking dish?
    Thanks so much!

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      Hi Christiana, you should be fine baking this in an aluminum pan. I would suggest placing the pan on a baking sheet during cooking. It will help to regulate the heat and provide a stable surface for those disposable pans that tend to wobble when filled. Just be sure to check the edges for browning and take it out when the liquid has set.

  5. Testers Choice says:

    [Jenna Helwig] This recipe has become my go-to dish for every sort of brunch imaginable: baby shower, parents in town, company over, holiday…the list is endless. The entire dish is prepped and refrigerated the night before–which is a huge plus. All you have to do, the morning of your event, is pop it in the oven and drizzle the dish with a little butter. While convenience is good, taste is the most important factor, of course, and this French toast really delivers. It’s tender, buttery, and studded through with nuts and raisins. I often use only half as much cream cheese as the recipe calls for, since it already seems like enough of a good thing. This recipe is a hit every time I make it!

  6. Natalie says:

    Hi, is there anything I can use besides Cream Cheese? Thanks so much and I love your recipes here! :)

    • David Leite says:

      Natalie, the recipe was developed with cream cheese, which is soft but holds up the heat. Now a warning: I haven’t tried these substitutes, but you can reach for Neufchâtel or ricotta mixed with a little yogurt. Is there a dietary restriction? Or is there a personal preference at work here?

      • Natalie says:

        Just a personal preference, but I think I’ll go ahead with it. I’m baking it as a Mother’s Day gift so I’m pretty excited to see how it turns out! :) Thanks for your help!

  7. Natalie says:

    That was an amazing brunch!! We all loved it very much. I had to bake it for a longer time as I was using a 9×9 dish, but nevertheless, it was perfect! Thanks again! :)

  8. CT says:

    Bravo. This was terrific. Made it for a church gathering and everyone loved it. Many asked for the recipe. I used challah bread, real butter and maple syrup. It was rich but not too sweet or decadent.

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