The perfect seasonal fall brunch, baked apple french toast is a simple recipe to feed a crowd using Granny Smith apples, cinnamon and egg bread.
This baked apple french toast recipe means one thing; before we know it, fall will officially be here. Which is fine with me because fall is a beautiful season, especially here in Toronto. There’s just something about those bright orange, yellow and crimson leaves that flit and flutter to the ground, that satisfying crunch underfoot during my morning walk to the subway and the crisp air that calls for scarves, jackets and boots.
Not to mention the food; cozy soups and stews, casseroles and pies all made with in-season produce. My favourite picks the season? Crisp and tart Granny Smith apples, sweet and creamy butternut or acorn squash, and of course we can’t forget root vegetables like parsnips, sweet potatoes and carrots.
I have quite a few fall inspired recipes up my sleeve that I can’t wait to share with you. A few hints? Think caramel and apples, an entire week devoted to Thanksgiving including a mashup of my two favourite pies and to top it all off, a celebration of all things squash. Are you excited yet? I know I am.
In addition to all the recipes I have planned for the next few months, I also have a couple of other exciting projects in the works. First and foremost, I’m getting ready to launch my YouTube channel. With my film and media production background I’ve got high hopes for that space and I’m collaborating with a couple of amazing people (who also happen to be great friends) to help with graphics and shooting, I can’t wait for you to see the videos. We shot the first one over the weekend. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for years now, and it’s so nice to finally be able to say that they are coming, the videos are on their way.
Back to the baked french toast, I went with my favourite Granny Smith for the apples for a couple of reasons. First of all, they are tart and crisp and because of this, their flavour is the perfect balance to the sweetness of the brown sugar and cinnamon used in this recipe.
They also hold up well to the sautéing and baking required in this recipe (as such, they are also a great variety for apple pies). Don’t try and use McIntosh here, which are a favourite of mine for snacking, but because they are soft, they will break down really quickly and turn into mush (save those for applesauce). I find that this baked french toast is fine without maple syrup, but by all means, indulge a little. I recommend tasting without syrup first to see if you want it. That said, you can never go wrong with maple syrup.
This is the kind of breakfast dish that would be perfect to serve a crowd if you’re having people over for brunch. But can someone confirm with me that this is a thing that happens? People have their friends over for a big brunch? It sounds pretty dreamy and Pinterest worthy, but also, I find that my friends and I love to go out for brunch.
I think it’s a “millennial” thing (I mean, we’ve all seen the headlines, for example, Time Magazine’s “Millennials spend more time planning brunch than they do looking for a date“) The first time I made this, my sister had a couple of friends sleeping over so they became my taste-testers, but I’ve never invited a big group of friends over for brunch, but I’m starting to think that maybe I should.
Baked Apple French Toast
- 8 cups egg bread cut into 1" cubes
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, divided
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Granny Smith apples, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Arrange bread in a 9x13 oven-proof casserole dish.
- In a large bowl whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla and 1 tsp of cinnamon and pour over bread, pressing bread down to soak up all the liquid.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a non-stick medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add apples, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in walnuts (if using), brown sugar and remaining 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, cook for another 2 minutes.
- Pour apples on top of bread, pressing down with a spoon to arrange evenly and press apple slices into the cracks.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes.
Let me know if you give this baked apple french toast a try, it’s perfect for the fall.