Overnight Peach French Toast
One of the many dream jobs I’ve held throughout my imagination’s illustrious career is to own a bed and breakfast. I’d have a wrap-around porch, bookshelves piled with Jane Austin novels and board games, and a five-star rating on Trip Advisor. My guests would visit from all over the world, and I’d be revered for my fabulous breakfasts. The Overnight Peach French Toast Bake would be legendary.
Until Ben and I scrape together the down payment for a six-bedroom Victorian on Cape Cod, I’m content to live out my B&B dreams hosting friends in our Milwaukee late-1980s abode. We might not have a wrap-around, but our hammock is enticing and our stash of board games respectable. I also highly recommend the Overnight Peach French Toast, which I’m pleased to report received a five-star rating from our most recent guests.
Last weekend, one of my best friends from Minneapolis and her boyfriend visited Ben and me for the Fourth of July. We soaked in lake life, pigged out at a pig roast, and spent a lazy morning enjoying this Peach Overnight French Toast. While our guests praised its creamy vanilla custard filling and juicy cinnamon peach topping, the hurried hostess (yours truly) cherished it for the fact that 100% of the recipe prep was completed ahead, so in the morning, she could relax and spend time with her guests, instead of rushing around the kitchen.
OK, I’ll stop referring to myself in the third person now.
In all seriousness, overnight French toast bakes (or casseroles if you prefer), such as this peach French toast recipe, are my absolute favorite dishes for brunch entertaining. Others I love: Blueberry Coconut French Toast Bake; Cinnamon Swirl French Toast Bake; Pecan Cream Cheese-Stuffed French Toast Bake—clearly, I have an overnight French toast addiction, and unless the recovery plan involves more French toast, I’m embracing it.
Rather than sweat at my stove flipping single French toast slices while my guests wait and prior batches grow cold, I prep a French toast bake the night before, pop it into the fridge, then just slip it into the oven when I wake up. In the case of this Overnight Peach French Toast, I actually baked and froze the entire casserole a few days in advance, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheated it in the oven in half of the original time.
I often use hearty multigrain loaves for my overnight French toast bakes (which are wonderful), but this time I decided to keep the flavor lighter by opting for a classic French baguette. For a full “peaches and cream” effect, I used non-fat evaporated milk for the custard (no heavy cream necessary) and a heavy pour of vanilla extract.
Several splashes of bourbon may or may not have worked their way into this Overnight Peach French Toast recipe as well. It’s how great breakfast legends begin.
Overnight Peach French Toast
- 3-4 large peaches — (or 6-8 medium) enough to yield about 2 1/2 cups sliced
- 2 tablespoons lightly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 8 ounces French bread — sliced (leave out for a few hours to stale if possible)
- 8 large eggs
- 1 can non-fat evaporated milk — (12 ounces)
- 1/2 cup non-fat milk
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons bourbon — (optional but delicious)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Optional for serving: — Maple syrup, powdered sugar, butter, whipped cream, and/or Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)
Peel the peaches: Bring a large pot of water deep enough to cover the peaches to a gentle boil. Carefully drop in the peaches, let boil for 1 minute, then remove with a slotted spoon and plunge immediately into an ice batch to stop the cooking. Run each peach under cool water—the skins should slip off easily. Slice, then place in a small bowl with the brown sugar and lemon juice. Stir lightly to coat and set aside.
Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer along the bottom of the dish. Try to cover the entire surface of the dish, cutting or tearing slices to fit as necessary.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, evaporated milk, non-fat milk, maple syrup, bourbon, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Pour over the bread. Lightly press down on the bread slices so that the egg mixture runs over the top.
Arrange the peach slices over the top of the bread, leaving any excess juices in the bottom of the bowl. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
The next morning, remove the pan from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the French toast, uncovered, until the top is lightly browned and the center is set but still moist, about 45 to 55 minutes. Check at the 40-minute mark. If the French toast seems to be browning too quickly, tent with foil, then continue baking as directed. Let stand for 10 minutes, then serve warm with desired toppings.
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