I’ve been working on this Orange Overnight French Toast for quite a while. After a number of false starts and a whole lot of taste testings, we finally have a product worthy to post.
Besides the taste, I’m sure it’s obvious why I love this recipe. This make-ahead recipe makes breakfast super simple when you have a busy day ahead, for guests or a crowd.
Orange Overnight French Toast, Stuffed & Baked
Ingredients: Makes 4 servings.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 oz. regular cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 2 generous tablespoons of orange marmalade
- Stale French bread, cut into 5 thick 1½ to 2-inch slices
- 5 eggs, beaten
- 1¼ cup whole milk
- ⅓ cup fresh orange juice
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Garnish: Powdered sugar
Grease a small (5½” x 10”) casserole or baking dish with butter and set aside. Zest and juice your oranges.
Prepare the bread slices by cutting a long deep slit, creating a deep pocket in each bread slice. Blend the cream cheese and marmalade in a small bowl. Spoon a generous tablespoonful of the cream cheese mixture into each bread pocket and spread it around a bit. Arrange the prepared bread pockets in the buttered casserole or baking dish. Cut the fifth bread pocket into pieces and fit the pieces around the whole slices of bread, filling in the holes.
Whisk the eggs, milk, orange juice, zest, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg until combined. Pour the egg custard mixture evenly over the prepared bread. Using a baster, extract some of the custard mixture and spread it over the top to help the bread soak in the custard. Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Remove the prepared casserole from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before baking. (Optional: For an added bit of crunch, sprinkle an extra bit of sugar evenly over the top just prior to placing it in the oven.)
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake, uncovered, 30 to 35 minutes or until top is just golden brown and the center is set. Allow the dish to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and serve. If desired, dust each serving with powder sugar. Serve with my orange maple syrup or any syrup of your choice, coffee and a side of bacon or sausage.
Alternative Cooking Method: Follow the instructions above to prepare the French toast. When you’re ready to cook the French Toast, melt several tablespoons of butter in hot 12-inch skillet. Using a spatula, carefully place each custard soaked stuff bread pocket in the hot skillet and cook 2 to 4 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. Plate, dust each serving with powdered sugar and serve.
Variations: Gosh, there are way too many variations for me to mention. Below are just a few that come to mind.
- Plain – Omit the orange juice, zest, marmalade and cream cheese. Add a tablespoon of vanilla and increase the milk by another ⅓ cup. Serve with maple syrup.
- Cream Cheese & Berries – Omit the orange juice. Substitute the orange zest with lemon, and increase the milk by another ⅓ cup. Substitute the marmalade with any berry jam of choice. Serve with a fruit syrup to match.
- Rum Raisin – Omit the orange juice, zest, marmalade and cream cheese. Increase the milk by another ⅓ cup. Add a tablespoon of vanilla. Combine approximately ⅓ cup each, of raisins (plumped with rum) and walnut pieces mixed with a small bit of honey. Stuff the bread slices with a generous tablespoon of the nut and raisin mixture. Serve with rum raisin syrup. (Note: Rum Raisin Syrup recipe coming soon.)
- Nutella – Omit the Cream cheese, marmalade, orange zest, and orange juice. Add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Increase the milk by another ⅓ cup. To take this over the top, serve it with warm chocolate syrup.
- PB&J – Omit the marmalade, cream cheese, orange zest, cinnamon, and orange juice. Add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Use peanut butter, crunchy or smooth, and strawberry jam layered as the filling. Increase the milk by another ⅓ cup. Serve with strawberry syrup.
- Peaches & Cream – Omit the marmalade, orange juice, and zest. Insert a few slices of canned or frozen peaches in each pocket layered with the cream cheese. Place a slice or two of the peaches on top of each bread pocket. Increase the milk by another ⅓ cup. Serve with crème anglaise.
- Nuts & Fruits. Omit the cream cheese and marmalade. If you prefer, omit the orange juice and increase the milk by another ⅓ cup. Mix a combination of chopped dried fruits and pecans pieces with a bit of honey and place a generous tablespoon into each pocket. Serve with warmed leftover fruits and nut stuffing.
- Coconut – Omit the marmalade, orange zest, cinnamon, and orange juice. Add ¼ cup sweetened shredded coconut to the cream cheese. Add ⅓ cup of coconut milk and 1-teaspoon coconut extract to the custard mixture. Sprinkle extra coconut on top. Serve with coconut flavored crème anglaise.
Notes: You can easily double this Orange Overnight French Toast recipe. Use a 9×13 inch baking dish and bake it for 45 to 50 minutes. Stale French bread makes a huge difference in the outcome. I will buy my bread a few days before I need it and refrigerate it in its paper wrapper; doing this will dry the bread out nicely. Another drying method is to place the plain bread slices on a baking sheet and refrigerate for a few hours; this will quickly dry out the bread. If you’re in a hurry and choose to use fresh bread, it will provide a softer texture to the end product. One last thing, if you prefer it a bit sweeter, add a little more sugar; conversely, if you prefer it less sweet. I tried to strike a balance between of not too sweet.
What do you think? Was it worth the wait? It’s especially nice with my Orange Maple Syrup. Why not give this Orange Overnight French Toast a try and let me know how it turned out.
Time to eat…
P.S. Take a moment to check out my new recipe booklet’s for sale on this site and purchase some of the tools I used for this “Orange Overnight French Toast, Stuffed & Baked” below. 🙂