Blueberry Mascarpone French Toast Casserole

This is an overnight recipe that makes wonderful use of fresh blueberries. Slices of French bread are stuffed with the blueberries, smeared with sweetened mascarpone, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Make this the night before and let it soak up the milk and eggs, and after baking in the morning, it comes out crispy on top and deliciously gooey inside.

I have this recipe for classic French toast, and I have another recipe for French toast casserole that involves chunks of brioche soaked overnight. It’s wonderfully messy and served in big scoops. (I’m happy to share that by request.)

For this recipe, you lay the sliced and stuffed French bread in loaves in the pan. After baking, you just cut a couple of slices and lay them on the plate.

It calls for three loaves and serves 12. I made the whole thing so I could test it out, but also to have as breakfasts for several days to come. I’m sure you could easily scale it down.

This comes from a Better Homes & Gardens book of 13×9-inch one-pan meals. But I had to use a much bigger pan to accommodate the size of the loaves — a 15×12-inch roasting pan. So use whatever size works with the loaves you buy.

3 8-oz. French baguettes
8 oz. mascarpone, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla, divided
2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups fresh blueberries
6 eggs
2 cups milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided

Grease the baking pan and set aside. Cut each loaf into 1-inch slices, cutting to but not through the bottom of the loaf.

For the filling, in a medium bowl mix the mascarpone with 1 teaspoon vanilla until well blended and smooth. Mix in powdered sugar. Fold in blueberries. Spoon filling between bread slices (I found it easiest to lift up the bread with one hand and smear a spoonful into the open slice with the other). Arrange the loaves side by side in prepared baking pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour over loaves, cover the pan, and chill overnight.

Heat oven to 350F/175C degrees. In a small bowl, stir together remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over loaves.

Bake 45 minutes or until egg mixture is set, covering with foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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