Do you need a dairy-free breakfast dish that is both decadent and Fall-inspired? Baked Pumpkin French Toast Casserole is the answer! This french toast casserole is a pumpkin-spiced bread pudding with 100% pure pumpkin mixed right in. It is topped with a homemade crunchy streusel that is out of this world, setting this french toast far above any other recipe!
Welcome back to Pumpkin Week 2021! Here, we are celebrating all things pumpkin. Why? Because Fall is the best season, of course!
We're back with quite possibly the best french toast recipe that you have ever had. If you have day-old bread and want to use it, make this insanely delicious Baked Pumpkin French Toast Casserole! The flavors are the epitome of Fall and will please the whole family.
Whether you use challah, whole wheat, Brioche, or gluten-free bread, this casserole will be your favorite homemade brunch to date! Plus, the best part is the homemade streusel topping, which is spicy, crunchy, and oh so decadent.
The ultimate debate! Is french toast casserole just bread pudding? Basically, yes. Sure, bread pudding is a dessert, but who wouldn't want dessert for breakfast?!
That's why this Baked Pumpkin French Toast is the perfect weekend meal. If you need a nap afterward, at least you don't have to go to work!
Bread pudding generally consists of cubed bread (preferably stale, day-old), eggs, and sugar. The custard-like texture emerges from the heat of the oven. When it's cooked, bread pudding has a moist, eggy texture that is sweet and undeniably delicious.
The result of bread pudding is essentially similar to french toast; crispy on the outside, eggy in the middle, and slightly sweet. Making french toast in a casserole is just easier because you don't have to stand over the stove, flipping each piece of bread!
If you are making bread pudding for the first time, here are some tips and tricks for a successful Baked Pumpkin French Toast!
Use day-old bread. If you use fresh bread, the fresher the bread, the more moisture inside. Day-old bread absorbs the egg mixture much better than fresh, moist bread. For the same reason, croutons are commonly used in stuffing (which is a savory bread pudding). When it bakes, the stale bread will become eggy and light. The drier the bread at the beginning, the better the bread pudding texture.
Bake in a high-sided casserole dish. This french toast casserole can get bubbly in the oven, so to avoid any spillage, use a high-sided baking dish. You can also bake the casserole on top of a baking sheet for extra protection!
Top with maple syrup! Since this is a breakfast dish, it is a requirement to top it all off with maple syrup. Seriously!
Streusel is a crunchy topping in many desserts, often consisting of butter, flour, sugar, nuts, and sometimes oats. You will find it on desserts such as:
Add this topping to any dessert you like! It goes very well with fruit in particular.
For the French Toast:
For the Streusel Topping:
Lightly grease a large baking dish (9 x 13″) with butter or oil and pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whisk together all the ingredients (except for the bread) into a large bowl and set aside so that everything marries together and activates, about 5 minutes.
Next, add the chopped challah bread into the prepared baking dish and spread it around evenly.
Pour the liquid mixture atop cubed bread, generously covering all pieces.
For the Streusel:
Add the flour, organic brown sugar, chopped pecans, and pumpkin spice into a medium bowl, combining them together using a pastry blender.
NOTE: This helps to break down the nuts into smaller pieces as well, if preferred.
Add the partially melted vegan butter and using a spatula, mix until combined and it becomes crumbly like in texture. Now, top the french toast mixture with brown sugar streusel topping, generously sprinkling it all over.
Bake casserole for 35-40 minutes or until fully cooked through (less 'jiggly') and edges and tops are golden brown (or slightly dark brown, if preferred).
Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes or so and then cut into desired size squares pieces.
To serve, add a slice onto a prepared plate and drizzle with maple syrup, if desired.
Fall is the season of heavier foods, so check out all my Autumn-inspired dishes! I know you will love them all.