I’m ready for Fall! It’s my favorite time of year. I like the cooler weather, but it’s not too cold yet. We finally get back in the routine of our evening walks and on cooler nights we get to have a fire in the fireplace. Most of the time when I think of pumpkin I think of pumpkin pie. This time I tried out a new casserole for breakfast for those busy mornings around the holidays when you have guest visiting. We really liked it so I’ll be saving this recipe for future events.
Pumpkin French Toast Bake
(Adapted from Minimalist Baker)
3½ – 4½ cups 1-inch bread cubes (depending on type of bread)
7 large eggs
2 cups milk (any kind)*
1 tsp vanilla extract
1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ cup pumpkin BUTTER (or ½ cup pumpkin puree)*
3-4 tablespoons brown sugar for topping
nuts, like pecan or walnuts (optional)
Cut any kind of bread into 1-inch cubes – I recommend a crusty, whole grain variety, but sandwich bread will work, too. Just use enough slice to fill a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish quite full.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, pumpkin butter and pie spice until well combined. Pour over bread and push down with a spoon or your hands until it’s all soaked and mostly covered. Cover with saran wrap or lid and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees, uncover and top with brown sugar, additional pumpkin pie spice and nuts (optional). Bake for 35-45 minutes or golden brown and no longer wet.
Serve immediately with maple syrup, honey or agave nectar. Store leftovers in the refrigerator covered for up to a couple days.
* I HIGHLY recommend using pumpkin butter as it has a concentrated pumpkin flavor and is much sweeter than puree. But if using puree instead of butter, it’s important to compensate the flavor by adding a bit more puree, pumpkin pie spice, and a little agave nectar, brown sugar or maple syrup to the batter. Otherwise, it will lack that delicious fall, pumpkin flavor you’re going for.
* I used 2%, but use skim or low-fat for a lighter recipe. Alternatively, use non-dairy such as soy or almond.