French Toast Casserole (!!) featuring creamy ricotta cheese, fresh summer berries, and homemade brioche. Cause all we do is win win win no matter what! You’re gonna love it.
Oh sweet baking! How I love/unlove it.
Love = the warm, bready smells.
Love = the taste-testing along the way. what else is a spatula for though?
Love = the finished product. because when that beautifully deep skillet with golden brown French Toast and berries lands on the table, in a moment of transformation you go from regular person to full blown BOSS. you have just made baking history with your skills. you might be the most domestically gifted person alive right now.
So mostly I love baking. But there’s that one little thing that I UNLove = the lack of flexibility.
I have gotten so … I don’t want to say sloppy, but that’s sort of what it is … can we just say casual to preserve my self esteem? I’ve gotten so CASUAL with the process of just cooking and adjusting on the go for easy dinner recipes (taste // add more salt // taste again // give it a shot of lemon zest // more tasting // roast it a little longer) that I feel like I’ve totally lost my stamina and patience with baking. I mean, you cannot adjust these things real-time when you are working with fussy ingredients like YEAST and EGGS and BUTTER and FLOUR and by the way – is my oven temperature possibly off by a few degrees? Ugh, baking. Just loosen up already.
But there comes a time in life where you have to ask yourself the most important question: am I willing to get my bake on in order to end up with a big old school style of everything-in-one-large-pan French Toast Casserole on my table?
Correct answer: yes.
French Toast Casserole – let’s break it down.
A) French Toast because breakfast is so good and carbs are life, B) Casserole because it is fun to share food, and C) bonus note that this is not a super flexible recipe necessarily, but to my comments above about it being fussy and all that? this is actually a relatively easy recipe as far as homemade completely from scratch baking awesomeness goes.
Such as golden brown French Toast baked in a large dish and bombed with ricotta and berries. This French Toast Casserole is meant to be shared with all your best people – I mean, this heavy dish of breakfast glory is going to weight at least 800 pounds, so text your squad NOW, girlfriend. You’re going to need some help with this one. I know, I know, having people over sometimes feels a little panicky, but brunch seems moderately approachable when it comes to hosting, right? French Toast Casserole is your jam for this.
Look out, brunch goals. We are on the loose.
Here’s the deal with the dough. You have two options.
- Store bought pre-made dough from a can, like those biscuits that everyone uses for everything.
- Homemade brioche that will blow your mind with how easy and amazingly delicious it is.
K, it might be obvious which one I’m pushing for here, but let me just say this – I am not above the canned biscuit situation. If I were really pressed for time, I might just go there. No snub noses here.
But know this: I AM pressed for time 99% of the times that I’m making something like this for some kind of brunch event and I STILL find it worth the extra five minutes that it takes to make the homemade dough. I said FIVE MINUTES because the recipe I’m using comes from Artisan Bread in Five which is based around the concept of baking bread with just five minutes of prep for the dough. Could this be any easier? This is baking for casual girls. This is where I live.
It’s buttery, rich, a tiny bit creamy thanks to the ricotta, and speckled with juicy bites of raspberry and blueberry that sort of explode with goodness in each bite. Topped with powdered sugar and syrup and you are gonna be rocking those brunch goals.
- 4 eggs, beaten, room temperature if possible
- ¾ cup butter, melted
- ¾ cup warm water
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1½ teaspoons dry active yeast
- 4 cups flour (more as needed for dusting hands and surface)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
- 1-2 cups raspberries and/or blueberries
- Dough: Mix the eggs, butter, water, honey, salt, and yeast in a bowl. Add the flour and stir until just combined (you can just use a wooden spoon for this - no mixer necessary). Cover with plastic and set aside (at room temp) for about 2 hours or until puffy and sticky. Split the dough in half and freeze one half for later. Coat your hands and your surface with plenty of flour, roll out the remaining half batch, and cut it into bite sized pieces.
- Filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the eggs with the ricotta cheese and honey. Add the bite sized dough pieces and the berries. Stir gently just once or twice to combine.
- Bake: Transfer to a greased 9x13 casserole dish and bake for 30-ish minutes, until the top is golden brown and the insides are fully baked. Sprinkle with powered sugar and syrup.