During the last couple of months I found myself searching for a baked French toast recipe that emulated stuffed French toast. I couldn’t find anything that I felt did the job well or did it well without a laundry list of ingredients. As my research continued and nothing seemed to come up I decided to tackle the recipe myself.
To do this, I knew I needed some kick-ass bakery bread, something decadent and a little buttery but nothing overly flavorful that would distract from the layers of fruit. I decided to use brioche, a French bread with a delicate yeasty crumb and a slightly egg-y texture.
I choose apples for the “filling” because I knew they would layer well and could hold up to baking (plus they’re available year round).
I made sure to steer clear of any cream-like filling because I wanted this recipe to be simple in flavor and preparation. Apple is the star of this dish and although it’s not the healthiest breakfast it also isn’t the least healthy. Using apples as a main ingredient allowed me to cut down on added sugar and cut down on the layers of bread. Lastly, I kept the custard classic using just milk, eggs, vanilla and spices.
Make sure to enjoy this right out of the oven as the center is creamy and edges are crispy.
- 1 loaf brioche bread (just under 1 pound), cut in ½ inch slices
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup pecans, chopped
- Heat oven to 250°F and set racks to middle and lower-middle position.
- Place bread slices on two baking sheets and bake for 25-30 minutes until dried out, flipping slices halfway through baking. For a more hands-off approach, leave slices out overnight to dry.
- Increase oven to 375°F and coat a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
- Cut apples in thin slices (between ⅛ inch and ¼ inch). Heat butter in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add apple slices and sauté until tender but still hold a rough shape, about 6 minutes. Add brown sugar and sauté until sugar has melted and apples are coated with caramel, 1–2 minutes. Turn off heat and allow apples to slightly cool.
- Alternating, layer bread and apple slices in rows, on end, at an angle. Drizzle remaining caramel left in skillet over top. Pour egg mixture over layered slices and gently press down to soak bread. Sprinkle pecans evenly over top.
- Bake until top is golden brown and crusty, about 35–45 minutes.
- Serve immediately with maple syrup.