The last thing you need to worry about on a weekend morning is breakfast. With this deep-dish brioche French toast, you assemble it today, let it sit in the fridge overnight, and tomorrow slide it in the oven. By the time the gang wakes up, breakfast will be on the table.
This make-ahead brioche French toast recipe offers big rewards while letting you sleep in late.–David Leite
LC Brioche French Toast Brilliance Note
Perhaps the only thing better than waking up to brioche French toast for breakfast? Waking up to brioche French toast that doesn’t require any stand-at-the-stove effort on your part. That’s where this recipe comes in handy. It’s the French toast you already know and go weak in the knees over but it’s assembled in a baking dish the night before and stashed in the fridge. The only thing left for you to do in the morning is slide it in the oven and have an unrushed cup of coffee. Well, that and accept accolades.
Brioche French Toast
- Slow cooker (if following the slow cooker method)
- Butter for greasing pan
- One (24-ounce) brioche loaf cut into 1-inch (25 mm) cubes
- One 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 extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Pure maple syrup warmed
- To make the Brioche French Toast in your slow cooker, see the Slow Cooker Variation below.
To make the Brioche French Toast in your oven, generously butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Place half the bread 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.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Evenly pour the egg mixture over the bread. Gently press down on the bread with your palms to encourage the top layer to absorb the liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
- Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Remove the dish of brioche French toast from the refrigerator and let sit 20 minutes at room temperature. Remove the plastic wrap and replace it with aluminum foil. Bake the French toast for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the bread is nicely toasted and there’s no liquid puddling on the bottom.
- Transfer the dish to a wire rack and drizzle the melted butter on top. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to release the French toast. Let sit for 5 minutes before you cut it into squares, arrange on individual plates, and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Serve along with the warmed maple syrup. (If you have leftovers—which is sorta doubtful—cover the dish with foil and refrigerate. When ready to serve, reheat it in a moderate oven until warmed through.)
Slow Cooker VariationThis already easy make-ahead recipe just got even easier. Assemble all the ingredients in the insert portion of your slow cooker, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Place the insert back on the slow cooker base and cook on low for 3 1/2 hours.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This brioche French toast 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 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!
Okay, why mess with perfection? I knew this recipe worked great in my oven, but there are so many occasions when I’m asked to bring this to a breakfast or brunch at a place where I don’t have access to an oven and I know it will not be served as soon as I arrive. This dish is so good warm that I would hate to serve it cold (yes, it still gets eaten cold, but it’s so much better warm). Or there are times, like on Christmas morning, where I get so caught up in the festivities that everyone suddenly says they’re hungry, and I haven’t even turned on my oven yet. So I decided to try the slow cooker variation of this recipe. I assembled all the ingredients in the stoneware part of my 7-quart slow cooker and put it in the refrigerator. The next morning I put the stoneware back in the base and turned the slow cooker on low. After 3 hours and 20 minutes, the French toast was perfect, just like the oven version. My family also agreed that it tasted just as good.
Originally published December 24, 2017