Overnight Blueberry French Toast

I was browsing in the library one day a couple of weeks ago, when I came upon this little gem of a cookbook. It’s a collection of make-ahead recipes from bed and breakfast inn owners, and I figured the recipes had to have wide appeal, considering the nature of inn keeping. There are appetizers, breakfasts, brunches, dinners and desserts, but I was especially intrigued by the breakfasts. Mornings can be hectic, what with getting the kids up, feeding them, starting the day’s chores, getting David off to work (when he’s here 🙂 and homeschooling. I was not disappointed. I’ve tried several recipes, all delicious, and they only take a few minutes to assemble the night before. I put them together after I get dinner in the oven or just after the kids go to bed. I’d say unequivocally that you should buy it, but just to whet your appetite, I’m going to share with you our favorite recipe so far. I’m pretty sure that if the saints eat breakfast in heaven, this is what they dine on. I’ll leave it to you to find your own shortcuts and substitutions. Blueberries are the best, but apples are pretty good, too. 🙂

Baked Blueberry French Toast
1 loaf of Italian bread
4 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Non-stick vegetable oil spray
2 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup cranberries (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Slice the bread on the diagonal to create eight 3/4 inch thick slices, heels removed and saved for another use. Place the bread in a single layer in a 10×15 inch glass baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, baking powder, and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Slowly pour over bread, turning each slice to coat completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 425′. Coat another 10×15 inch baking dish with nonstick spray, or carefully remove the bread to a platter and wash and spray the dish they were in. Sprinkle the blueberries and cranberries, if using, over the bottom of the pan. Mix together the sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch and sprinkle evenly over the berries.

Tightly wedge the bread, wettest side up, atop the berries. Brush the bread with the butter, then bake in the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

To serve, place the toast, berry side down, on warmed plates. Stir the berry mixture remaining in the baking dish, then spoon over the toast. Sprinkle with the confectioners’ sugar just before serving.