Blueberry Mascarpone French Toast Casserole

by Ginny on June 5, 2011

Post image for Blueberry Mascarpone French Toast Casserole

Oh my. Oh my my. And just in time for berry season. 

I’m just going to say it. Pregnant ladies are a bad influence. It’s okay. I’ll take the blame for your increasing waist line and Weight Watchers membership fees. It’s just that I have been enjoying food, with more intensity and less guilt than I can ever remember. Not one to question Mother Nature, I’ve decided to go with it, and take this opportunity to add some indulgences to the SDR recipe index.

At last week’s OB appointment I checked in with my doctor about my weight gain. I’ve had the most ravenous sweet tooth but through sheer will and lots of walks with this little fur face:

I’ve been staying on track. Perfectly on track, my doc said, adding that I have 15 more pounds I can safely gain in the next 12 weeks before the baby comes so I might as well enjoy it.

HOT DOG! She gave me the green light. And though I will continue to abstain from indulging in every craving (if I did I would eat cake for breakfast, steak and oreos for lunch, and a hot fudge brownie sundae for dinner… every day), I will not let this precious window of pleasure pass me by. On the way home from that appointment I picked up a 6-pack of A&W root beer and some Haagen-Dazs Five Vanilla Bean ice cream to celebrate. I had been trying fruitlessly to ignore a fierce root beer float craving for a week, and finally, I gave in. I just made a little one, but boy did it taste good. Who discovered that creamy fizzy sasparilla magic that occurs when ice cream is added to root beer anyway? And so nostalgic. Hubs and I like to daydream about buying an old Bronco rag top for root beer float runs with the boy and the dog. Can’t wait for stuff like that… 

Sorry, got lost in root beer float land. Back to this breakfast! French toast. Mascarpone cheese. Fresh blueberries. An almond topping that adds a candied crunch to the crisp, brown crust. As my brother Dan would say: nyom nyom nyom nyom.

This was one of those recipes that came together based on some odds and ends that needed using in the fridge, but I’ll tell you who I turned to for recipe guidance here. Who else? Paula Deen.  The queen of indulgence. The diva of deep-fried macaroni and cheese (I’m not kidding). The Southern mama you wish you had in your kitchen when the doctor for perhaps the one single time in your life gives you permission to gain weight. At any rate, this special-occasion breakfast is worth the calories, and with summer company coming, it’s just the ticket for a leisurely Sunday brunch. Enjoy it!

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Recipe : Blueberry Mascarpone French Toast Casserole

Mascarpone is a soft, Italian triple-cream cheese that adds the occasional dot of ooey gooey goodness to this decadent breakfast dish. Although it’s not required, this casserole can be assembled the night before and baked the next day– a good idea if you have early risers.

Adapted from Paula Deen’s recipe for Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 loaf of artisan-style white bread, like pain de campagne, cocodrillo, or a Tuscan loaf
  • 8 ounces Mascarpone cheese
  • 8 ounces fresh blueberries
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch salt

For the almond topping:

  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. 

2. Carefully slice the tough parts of the crust from the bread, and discard or use for breadcrumbs. Cut trimmed bread loaf into 1-inch cubes. Arrange 2/3 of the bread cubes in prepared baking dish and sprinkle evenly with fresh blueberries and small dabs of Mascarpone. Top with remaining bread cubes.

3. In a medium mixing bowl combine eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk thoroughly to combine. Pour evenly over the casserole. At this point you can cover the casserole and refrigerate overnight, or prepare the almond topping and bake immediately. It’s great either way.

4. To prepare the almond topping: combine melted butter, brown sugar, almonds, and maple syrup in a small mixing bowl and stir thoroughly to combine. Sprinkle evenly atop casserole immediately before baking. Place in preheated 350 degree oven and bake 40 to 50 minutes or until casserole is puffed and golden brown on top. You may wish to broil the top briefly to further brown the crust. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8 to 10

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather July 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Okay, this is getting made tonight! I was searching the web for blueberry dessert recipes, preferably rather healthy ones, but I can’t resist this. I guess pregnant ladies think alike…I am 24 weeks. I was good on my weight until this past month. Doctor said I gained 7 pounds in 4 weeks…oops. I’ve been hitting the gym and doing water aerobics this week, so if I keep it up I think I can still have room for some goodies 🙂

Reply

Ginny July 14, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Enjoy it Heather! And best wishes for a healthy (and delicious) pregnancy : )

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Frances Tolley April 12, 2020 at 3:28 am

Hi…I first made this years ago and decided to search it out again! Your baby is “big” now! The recipe is still amazing!

Reply

Ginny May 24, 2020 at 4:24 pm

He sure is! 8 going on 9 : ) Thanks for the comment and enjoy the recipe, Frances!

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