October 30, 2014
I guess it was inevitable that the pumpkin bandwagon would pull up to Casa Rice. However, there isn’t a pumpkin spiced latte or crouton in sight — pumpkin croutons? Really, TJ’s? I’m embracing the fall flavor fad via our breakfast table with this delicious pumpkin spice French toast. It’s just right when you want to up your breakfast game a little and send the kids out the door with a dose of warm, cozy sustenance.
We seem to always have that half-eaten, not-so-fresh baguette on the counter. When it hits rock hard status I know it’s ready to make some kick ass French toast. This rendition has all the flavors of pumpkin pie, along with a soft center and crispy tops and bottoms. Basically, it’s pumpkin perfection. By adding a little maple syrup into the mix, it’s sweet enough with just a pat of butter and we forgo that river of sugar on the plate.
The eggs add a good measure of protein and the pumpkin ups the nutritional value as well. This recipe calls for overnight soaking to really get that flavor. I like that I can prep the night before and in the morning slide into super mom status with your first cup of coffee. If you forget to prep it the night before you can still make it and let it soak for a good thirty minutes — but just know that the longer it soaks the more pumpkin flavor you’ll get.
Feel free to use any type of bread, but the old baguette holds up to the soaking and doesn’t fall apart like some others I’ve tried. I’ve made it with gluten free bread and that works too, I just prepare what we need for that morning and don’t let it soak as long. I hope your family loves this as much as we do.
Pumpkin Spice French Toast
Note: Once the bread is prepped in the fridge I will cook up what we need for that morning. If there is any uncooked soaking bread leftover, back it goes in the fridge for the next morning.
3/4 of a baguette, sliced about 1” thick
1 cup of canned pumpkin, about half of a can
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Pinch of kosher salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup half and half
3 tablespoons maple syrup
In one layer, snuggle in the bread slices on a large baking dish. Grab a medium sized bowl and mix the rest of the custard ingredients well with a whisk. Pour mixture over the bread slices and push the bread slices down with your fingertips so it’s completely submerged. You might have to flip the pieces over to fully coat. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, set a large sauté pan on medium heat until hot. Add a 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the pan — it should sizzle and begin to melt right away. Once the butter melts completely add the French toast slices in batches. Be careful not to crowd the pan. Cook until warm and toasty. Serve.
You can also bake this in the oven, which makes it more a bread pudding consistency. I love it this way and it’s a super easy way to make breakfast for a group. For this variation: After the overnight soaking part, place the entire baking dish in a 375 oven and bake for 35 minutes. I like to put some slivers of butter over a few pieces before popping it in the oven.