Going Deep for Breakfast
Editors’ Note: We’re very excited to have a guest post today from Aimee Bourque, who blogs her culinary escapades at Under the High Chair; great food guaranteed, clean floors unlikely.
I think we can all agree, breakfast should be a tranquil start to our day. Whether you like your mornings to begin with merely the perfect muffin or prefer a full-on trucker’s breakfast, assaults on the senses are not welcome, nor, I’ve discovered, are conversations with a three-year-old.
On an average Saturday morning in my house, I take the path of least resistance in hopes of maintaining the peace. This means serving up something featuring bread and covered in our own harvested maple syrup for the little monkeys—with bacon of course. (We’re talking about my offspring here—they’ve embraced bacon without hesitation; as for the maple syrup, well, we are Canadian, after all.) All week we’ve slogged through balanced meals, fighting bite for bite, and now I just want them to hush up and eat up while I wake up.
This Deep Dish Blueberry French Toast is assembled the night before so the only real effort required in the morning is to bake and serve. Unfortunately, the simplicity of this breakfast dish doesn’t guarantee the sought after ‘Zen’ morning. Case in point on a recent weekend: I have just pulled a bubbling French toast from the oven and things are shaping up nicely—that is, until my pre-schooler wakes up.
No ‘good morning’, no hugs, he stumbles out of his room with this announcement:
“Mummy, I just made a little bit of barf in my mouth.”
He can’t say his ‘R’s and so he says ‘barf’ with what sounds like a British accent. BAwf.
Wordlessly, I hand him his sippy cup with apple juice and glance at his father, who is present at the kitchen table but hidden behind the newspaper. As expected, there is no response from him. Uh huh, selective hearing.
My son continues:
“I have a bug bite in my nose.”
He looks at me expectantly as one traveling finger identifies the exact spot, then reaches for a piece of bacon. Of course I’m supposed to make the offending nose feel all better, because that’s what mommies do, but it’s been a long week for this mommy and she’d like the newspaper reader to step in anytime.
I take a sip of coffee and hope that my son is finished listing his symptoms. But then he gestures towards his pull-up and says:
“My pee-pee is feeling a little bit broken”.
This is clearly not my territory anymore. The Homefront section of the paper twitches visibly.
“You’ve got this one,” I announce to my husband, “I’ll be in the garden”.
Deep Dish Blueberry Maple French Toast
As I mentioned, this dish is best when assembled the night before, much like a strata, of which, by the way, I am not a fan. Why waste those lovely ingredients on a *shudder* breakfast casserole when you can make them into the perfect omelet? I’m sorry, but it’s a cop-out.
Have at room temperature:
4 oz cream cheese
2 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons maple syrup or maple butter
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
8 slices of Italian bread, about ½ inch thick (I use the middle of the loaf)
1 cup blueberries
200ml light cream
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Pinch of salt
Grease a stoneware baking dish with butter. (This recipe works perfectly in my oval 1.23L Le Creuset)
In a medium bowl, blend together cream cheese, butter and maple syrup until they are completely combined and creamy like a frosting. Add cinnamon and mix well.
Lay out the slices of bread on your workspace and divide the cream cheese among four pieces. Spread it around evenly and top with the four remaining slices of bread. (Yep, this is a lot of work, but think of it as practice for school lunches someday.)
Here’s where it gets a little messy. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the sandwiches into three ‘fingers’, and each one of those fingers into three. You should have roughly nine bite-sized chunks per sandwich. Don’t worry if everything seems to squish out.
Transfer all the bread to the buttered baking dish and spread out evenly. Top with blueberries, tucking them in here and there, and pressing them down between the cubes of bread.
Using the same bowl as your former cream cheese mixture, crack the eggs and beat slightly. Add cream, maple syrup and salt; mix well.
Pour batter over bread. Using a well-washed hand, place your palm in the center of the dish and gently press all the bread down until the egg mixture seeps up through the cracks. (And you thought it was messy before. Hah!)
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, preheat oven to 350F.
Cook for 35-45 minutes until puffy and golden. Cover with foil if bread is browning before eggs are set.
Serve warm with more maple syrup and fresh blueberries.
Beautiful! I would totally eat this if it was lactose free. And I’m with you on the Strata (talk about barf in your mouth!)
And BTW Aimee, I totally dig your description of your interaction with Hubbie. I’m glad broken peepees are still the purview of Dads
I must admit to having a weakness for baked french toast. There’s just something about it. Reminds me of bread pudding, I think — which is one of the simplest (yet most indulgent) things I can think of most days 🙂
Add some white chocolate to this mess, and I’d happily call it dessert!
This looks delicious! Oh blueberries, how much I miss you!
holy crap. other peoples kids say the funniest shit.
but real quick, i need your help here. whats the difference b/t what you made and a strata?
This looks delicious! Isn’t it hilarious what kids will say?!
MMM…Deep Breakfast. Tastes like Ray Lynch.
That “tranquil” morning sounds all to familiar. I think all morning craziness would melt away if I was to eat this dish for breakfast. Thanks for the recipe and for the laugh.
Whoa, the Strata Police are here already? That was fast.
Oh, Rachel Ray sent you, that explains it. (RR reads ES??!)
No thanks won’t try your Dinner Strata, I’ve already eaten. Really, I’m stuffed.
OK, so remember this is just my opinion,and don’t we all get one? I guess difference between what I made and a strata is savory versus sweet.
I can’t do cross-overs, probably due to a nasty Monte Cristo sandwich I had as a young kid:questionable ham, Wonderbread, processed cheese singles, dipped in egg, fried and served with syrup. Ugh. Maybe if they had held everything save the bread and egg, I would have eaten it.
French toast is a classic,as is bread pudding, and I sure even strata has a following. But to mush up bread and milk and mix it with spinach and and kinds of savory stuff? Not my thing. Waste of maple syrup, actually.
It was an engrossing article. Love that Dilbert.
This looks so good. For years, I’ve made my kids blueberry stuffed french toast when we go camping, and though delicious every time it’s a major pain in the ass….I think I might just try and adapt this to a dutch oven instead.
Hilarious story with a great recipe.
HA! This made me tear up with laughter 🙂 Oh children, it’s hard to remember life before them isn’t it? Thanks for the comedic relief Aimee 🙂
LOL, I’ve had the twins tell me something similar about peepees. Just wait till you have to buy a “cup” defintely daddy territory. 🙂
I didn’t know what a strata was. Thanks, now I know to be wary if offered one. I think I’ll stick with this.
Cute story! haha! Yummy recipe too.
Awesome! Loving the french toast, the maple sweetness and the blueberries! What a cheer-me-up breakfast recipe 🙂
This is not a recipe for French toast, it is basically a bread pudding; sounds good though.It is very similar to my mother’s recipe but she did not use cream cheese.
I have used this recipe for many a special occasion now. I am not a morning person, so being able to throw this in the oven while slowly waking up is great. Almost as great as this recipe. My husband and I love this dish. It is my go to for anniversary brunch, christmas morning, or a long weekend breakfast. It is so delicious, and easy to prepare!
I made this with leftover Challah and it turned out delicious. Thanks so much!
I’ve made this with different breads and it comes out best with challah and is easier to put together; no thick crusts to cut off. It is always a big hit and I love being able to make it in advance and just pop it in the oven.
This recipe is awesome! I just convinced my co-worker (who does not cook) to make this for brunch this weekend. Haha, another one bites the dust! I was also thinking it might be really good with strawberries as well. Or maybe even a combination of berries.
It’s officially on my lazy-Sunday-Funday menu. Thanks!
I made something similar to this .. but with a twist. One of our local supermarkets sells freshly baked apple-walnut rustic bread; I buy a loaf, and have them slice it on their commercial slicer. I mix the cream cheese with our own home-made apple jelly and walnuts, spread on the slices of bread, which I put in a greased baking pan and top with an additional bread slice (making a “sandwich” of it – both slices prepared with the cream cheese, jelly, walnuts). Over the top I pour on the mixed melted butter, eggs, cream (using a bit of French Vanilla coffee creamer adds a yummy sweetness as well) and spoons full of apple pie filling with cinnamon.
Cover and refrigerate overnight —
In the morning, preheat the oven, pour just a bit more melted butter over the top and bake.
Remove from the oven, pour some fresh VERMONT Maple Syrup over each serving and enjoy. SO DARNED GOOD! (and easy)
This is amazing! i have added it to my favorites.
Good post. I certainly appreciate this site.
Stick with it!