This French toast casserole is loaded with French toast flavor with none of the mess or bread flipping. It all goes together in a Dutch oven and, when it’s done, you can all sit down together and eat.
This recipe can be prepped up to 24 hours in advance so you could prep it at home right before you leave and then assemble it the next morning for a quick and easy breakfast in camp. It also makes a great breakfast at home that you can assemble the night before, and is a great way to do French toast if you’re feeding a crowd. If you dry the bread by baking it in the oven (instructions are at the bottom of the post) then the bread cubes will act like little sponges and really soak up the egg mixture and make a firmer casserole.
We’ve made this with fresh and frozen blueberries and with frozen peaches and we like each of those versions. The one pictured above was made with blueberries. Very yummy! We want to try apples next.
12-inch Dutch oven or 3-quart rectangular baking dish, mixing bowl, whisk, measuring cups and spoons
12 slices white bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 8 cups), dried*
1 8 ounce packages cream cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries, peaches or apple chunks
2 cups milk
1/2 cup maple syrup or maple-flavor syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
In a mixer at home or in a medium mixing bowl in camp, whip or whisk cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, milk, syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla. The cream cheese will be lumpy and that’s okay.
Place half of the bread cubes over the bottom of a well-buttered 3-quart rectangular baking dish or foil-lined Dutch oven. Sprinkle fruit over bread cubes. Arrange remaining bread cubes over fruit.
Carefully pour egg mixture over the bread mixture. This can be covered and chilled up to 24 hours; however, I would not recommend chilling it in the Dutch oven. I would assemble it in a bowl for transport to camp and then, in the morning, just dump it into the foil-lined Dutch oven and bake. When we made this last weekend, we did everything in camp, assembled, and then let it sit while we prepped the coals and that was plenty of time for the bread to soak up the egg mixture.
Prep 25 coals.
Bake in a 350°F oven, using 17 coals on the lid and 8 coals underneath, for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, and topping is puffed and golden brown. Refresh coals as needed. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm with maple syrup or flavored syrup to compliment your fruit.
*To dry bread slices, arrange bread in a single layer on a wire rack; cover loosely and let stand overnight. Or cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes; spread in a large baking pan. Bake, uncovered, in a 300°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until dry, stirring twice; cool.