What's For Brunch: Blueberry Baked French Toast

This blueberry baked French toast is decadent, delicious, and a perfect match for brunch-time mimosas.

Blueberry Baked French Toast || A Less Processed Life

Although I can't quite relate to the Hamptons lifestyle, there's something about Ina Garten that I just love. Perhaps it's her down-to-Earthness or her simple-to-follow recipes ("What's not to love?"), but whatever it is, if Ina is making it, I want to try it.

Blueberry Baked French Toast || A Less Processed Life

And so it goes with this recipe for baked French toast that was featured recently on one of her shows. Dustin's parents were in town for the Easter holiday, making it the perfect time to try out a recipe that feeds a crowd. And let me tell you, this baked French toast did not disappoint.

It has 10 eggs – yes, 10 whole eggs, by god! And this recipe also calls for a mixture of heavy cream and milk (although you could sub in all half-n-half, as Ina uses). So, yeah, this recipe definitely doesn't scream "health food," but it does scream "delicious."

Blueberry Baked French Toast || A Less Processed Life

Everything comes together in the blink of an eye the night before, so all you have to do is pop it in the oven in the morning. (Just remember it takes about an hour to cook, so roll out of bed, pop it in the oven, set the timer, and then roll back into bed if you'd like!)

The custard is delightfully decadent, the blueberries add a burst of fresh flavor, and you can never go wrong with a little powdered sugar on top. And don't forget a drizzle of maple syrup on top! Ha, who am I kidding ... drench it in the good stuff!

Blueberry Baked French Toast 
makes 6-8 servings

unsalted butter, at room temperature
10 cups (1-inch-diced) day-old challah bread
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
10 eggs
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups 1% milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, for topping
powdered sugar, for serving
pure maple syrup, for serving

1. Grease a 9" x 13" x 2" baking dish with the unsalted butter. Place 5 cups of diced bread into the baking dish in an even layer. Top with an even layer of the blueberries. Top with the remaining diced bread.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, milk, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, orange zest, and salt.
3. Pour the egg mixture over the bread layers. Lightly press down the bread cubes to ensure they are evenly moistened. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes. Check to see if the top is becoming too browned; if so, lightly cover with foil. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the custard is set and the fruit is bubbling.
5. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm with pure maple syrup.

(adapted from this Ina Garten recipe)