Written by Rachel Davidson-Evans, BASc
Reviewed by Atheana Brown RD
It’s officially that time again everyone. The time full of crisp fall air, colourful falling leaves and pumpkin spice everything. While I am not a huge fan of the cooler weather and a reminder of the unspeakable cold to come, I am all for cozy flavours and scents that fill this time of year, just like this delectable pumpkin french toast bake. This may be your new go-to fall breakfast!
Yes- I have pumpkins on the porch already, and yes- I am ready to dive in to all the pumpkin flavoured treats. Who’s with me? When I tell you this mixture has the aroma of the best smelling fall candle, I am not exaggerating. You will just have to see for yourself! Not only that, but this bake can be prepped ahead, requires simple ingredients, and is so much faster than making individual french toast for guests. I love this bake on its own or served with scrambled eggs for an easy breakfast or brunch and it can be altered for you dairy or gluten-free friends by swapping in your favourite gluten-free flour, bread and dairy alternatives! For best results, I recommend using day-old thick bread such as challah, brioche, or French bread, and leaving the mixture covered for at least 2 hours to soak up all that pumpkin goodness! Now, let’s dive into the recipe!
For the Pumpkin French Toast
1 loaf dense bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 1/3 cups milk or milk substitute
1 cup pumpkin puree
7 large eggs
3/4 cups brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
For the Crumb Topping:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup butter
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup chopped pecans
*TIP: Feeling cheesy? Chop up an 8 ounce block of cream cheese and add to the bread!
- Grease a 9×13 baking dish and spread 1 inch bread cubes evenly.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, spices, milk, and vanilla. Pour mixture evenly over bread and gently toss to coat. If preferred, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours-overnight.
- For the optional topping: In a small bowl, stir flour, oats, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and salt with a fork or pastry cutter until crumbly. Stir in pecan pieces and sprinkle mixture over bread cubes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake in the middle rack of oven until firm and golden brown on top, about 45-50 minutes. A wooden skewer should come out clean. Serve with maple syrup and butter and dig in!