What I Made for Brunch :: Overnight Blueberry French Toast

I broke down and finally joined Pinterest ... as I feared, I am totally hooked! It's so easy to get caught up in looking at beautiful things, whether it's art, food, architecture, crafts, etc. It makes for a fast and easy inspiration board.

Within hours, I found this recipe through a friend for Overnight Blueberry French Toast. The pin had a helpful tip to read the comments for good suggestions on how to improve the recipe. After carefully reading through the comments, I made the dish over the weekend for a brunch we were hosting for some friends and their baby. It was a smashing success and the whole thing disappeared pretty quickly. Even my parents, who aren't big fans of sweets, thought it was tasty and asked for the recipe (well, my mom told me to write out the recipe for my dad!). The great thing about this recipe is that it requires you to prepare it the day before, so all you have to do the morning-of is to bake it. You can even make the blueberry syrup the day before and reheat it when you're ready to serve.

So, based on the suggestions from the comments, I made a few adjustments ... here's my tweaked recipe:

Ingredients for the french toast:
  • 6 croissants, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar
  • a dash of milk
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
Ingredients for the blueberry syrup:
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon butter
 ** Please keep in mind that I made this in a gratin casserole dish that measures 11"x7-1/4"x1-1/2", which is smaller than your traditional 13"x9"x2" Pyrex baking dish. If you want to use your Pyrex (and, believe me, I will next time since this was such a hit) you'll have to up the amount of ingredients a bit. **

  1. On a baking dish, spread out the croissant pieces in a single layer. Bake in a 200 degree oven for 20~30 minutes, tossing midway, until the pieces are a bit crisp and dried out. Meanwhile, blend the cream cheese, confectioners sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and milk together in a bowl. I used my hand mixer and it was a bit messy and difficult, but it was certainly quick. Using a rubber spatula, scoop the cream cheese mixture into a ziploc bag and cut off a corner to use as a piping bag.
  2. Lightly grease or butter your baking dish. Arrange half of the croissant pieces in the baking dish and squeeze the cream cheese mixture evenly on top. Sprinkle the blueberries over the cream cheese, and top with the remaining croissant pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, remaining vanilla extract, cinnamon, and syrup. Carefully, pour over the croissant pieces. Cover with tin foil and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator about an hour before baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Still covered, bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F, and continue baking for another 25 to 30 minutes, until center is firm and the surface is lightly browned. 
  6. While the french toast is baking, make the blueberry syrup: in a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, cook 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in the blueberries. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes until the blueberries burst. Stir in the butter and serve alongside the french toast. (You can refrigerate any leftover syrup; my husband poured it over vanilla ice cream and said it was great.)
This recipe is definitely a keeper and I can see myself making it every once in awhile, especially when blueberries are abundant and cheaper. But I think my next attempt will be to make it with strawberries.

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