24 October 2011

Eats: blueberry French toast

Heeey, remember when I set a goal to make brunch once a month for Mr. P and me? I figured it could be a bit over-aspirational at the time, but I reasoned, what’s the point in making a 30 by 30 list if not to push myself a little further? Makes sense! And the goal has encouraged me to make these, twice, and banana nut muffins alone make it a worthy goal.

Except lately? I can't even get it together to make muffins. October has been spent in a fog of job applications and interviews and writing, and September weekends were mostly taken up with family. But August! I made brunch in August! And I made something different, even! Let’s go back to August. A happy time.

Way back in August, I decided to make this blueberry French toast I discovered on Pinterest. Now, I’m no stranger to French toast – it’s one of the few brunch-y items I can make relatively well and with ingredients on hand. But this intrigued me because it’s a baked French toast, and falls in that excellent category of “overnight casseroles” that can be prepped in advance. I like to sleep in, and I usually make mistakes if I cook before the coffee kicks in, so…yeah. Overnight casserole sounded great!

Here are the very simple ingredients – bread, eggs, cream cheese, and blueberries. And milk and syrup, not pictured. Wine not actually included. But seriously, this is one of the few times you can prepare breakfast while having a glass of wine guilt-free. Go for it.

The original recipe called for a 9x13” pan, so I attempted to scale it down to an 8x8” for the two of us. I went with 8 slices of bread (normal sandwich bread) instead of the 12 puffy Texas toast slices in the original recipe. Then I cut off the crusts, and cut it into cubes.

I added half the bread to my greased 8x8” pan, then the cream cheese (I used a whole block, low-fat) and blueberries (about 2/3 cup). Look, it’s a study of spheres and cubes.

For the record, I used generic brand frozen blueberries. I’m clearly a big advocate of frozen fruits and veggies.

I topped the blueberries and cream cheese with the other half of the bread cubes. Almost done!

Then I mixed up 1 and 1/3 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of syurp and seven eggs, again reasoning that an 8x8” pan is a little more than half of a 9x13” pan and cutting the recipe by about a third. After adding it all into the bowl, though...

That looked like a lot of egg, for a baking dish that was already mostly full. I poured it in anyway, carefully.

Okay, done for the evening! I covered it, stuck it in the fridge, and finished my wine with a smug sense of satisfaction.

Fast forward eight... well, maybe ten hours. (It was a weekend, after all.) The bread had soaked up most of the egg, making it look like actual French toast!

Then I baked it, nearly following the directions – for the 8x8” pan, it baked for about thirty minutes covered, twenty uncovered, at 350 degrees. And after that...

Beautiful! Much better looking than the French toast I make in the skillet, at least. Although I nearly averted disaster by cutting the recipe by only a third. Close one.

And in the early morning light of our Eastern-exposure kitchen, something never before seen in the Eats section before, ooooh, ahhhh:

I didn’t bother with the blueberry syrup on the site, and instead opted for the usual maple (or faux maple) syrup. And how was it? Well... maybe you can guess from the ingredients? Read through them again. Notice anything strange?

Sweet ingredients: a very small amount of syrup. And tart ingredients? Two, the blueberries and cream cheese. The syrup just couldn’t compensate for that. If I make it again – well, when I make it again, because gosh it was easy, and how about strawberries? - I’ll definitely sweeten the milk and egg mixture with brown sugar. Not too much, but definitely some. And I’ll cut the eggs down – probably by a third, at least. There was way too much un-absorbed egg chunk at the bottom of the pan.

So, the recipe still needs some tweaking – and I haven’t had the time in the past few months to try it myself. I turn to you, dear readers! If you take my suggestions and find success, please let me know! Because I’ve got a good feeling about making brunch in November. Or... December. Maybe.


Shanna said...

I think you get an "A" for effort! I love blueberries but they are tart, just like my other favorite berry [blackberries].