I’m really excited to share this recipe today because this totally speaks to the kinds of holiday breakfasts that I grew up with! If it wasn’t Pillsbury orange-glazed cinnamon rolls (IYKYK), it was an overnight french toast bake. This version has a little twist: it’s an apple pie french toast bake! It has all the flavors of apple pie with a fraction of the work. Throw some of the maple-vanilla whipped cream on top and maybe a little extra maple syrup and you’ve got an easy breakfast that will feed a crowd. I hope you guys have a happy holiday season and that recipes like this lighten your load a bit so that more time can be spent with family and friends.
What is overnight french toast?
Overnight french toast is the cousin to actual french toast but it’s a hell of a lot less messy and less work. Instead of dipping each piece of bread in an eggy-custard mixture and frying them off, pieces of bread and apple are soaked with the custard mixture before baking! The bread has more time to absorb all the delicious custard and just has the best texture. It’s a great breakfast for feeding a crowd and doesn’t require a ton of equipment. You can make it the morning of or let it soak in the fridge overnight and bake it off first thing in the morning. Either way, you’re making an easy breakfast for a crowd that doesn’t require cooking for each individual, plus it’s delicious. That’s a win-win in my book!
What are the best apples to use for apple pie french toast?
Okay guys, hot take coming in. I can’t stand Granny Smith apples. The skin is so thick and waxy and they are just so sour. That being said, people love them for baking! They would work great in this recipe. Ultimately, you’re looking for apples that are a mix of tart and sweet with a nice crunchy and crisp texture (no golden delicious or red apples here, folks!). My favorites are pink lady, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Jonagold, or Braeburn. You want the apples to hold their texture after baking and not become all mushy or mealy. At the end of the day, use your favorites or what you have on hand but these are just my suggestions!
Can I omit the rum in apple pie french toast?
You can, but I love the flavor it adds! All the alcohol cooks off while baking so you don’t need to worry about it tasting boozy. But if you’re against using alcohol in baking, you can definitely omit it. You could also substitute a teaspoon of rum flavor extract if you have that on hand.
Can apple pie french toast bake be made in advance?
Hell yes, it can! You can throw everything together in the baking dish the night before, cover it with foil, and let it hang out in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, preheat the oven, sprinkle the top with sugar, and bake for the recommended time.
What’s the best kind of bread to use for apple pie french toast?
Any kind of enriched bread is best! This means bread containing eggs, butter, or both. Brioche is my favorite, but you can also use challah, egg bread, croissants, leftover dinner rolls, Hawaiian rolls, etc. The options are flexible, but rich bread works best!
Why is the bread toasted beforehand?
This helps dry the bread out a bit so that it really has room to absorb all the delicious custard! If you have time, you can leave the torn bread out on a baking sheet on the counter overnight, but the oven trick really helps speed the process along if you’re on a time crunch.
Do you have to cook the apples before adding them?
Yes! It allows them to soften a bit and actually creates a caramel-like sauce in the pan as they cook. This is essential for the flavors and makes such a huge difference in the finished product. You can cook the apples a day in advance and just save the apples and sauce in a an airtight container in the fridge and then combine with the bread and custard sauce later.
Can apple pie french toast bake be made gluten-free?
Yes! Just substitute in your favorite gluten-free bread. The rest of the ingredients are gluten-free as this recipe uses cornstarch instead of flour to thicken the cooked apples.
What equipment do you need for apple pie french toast bake?
Great question! Not much, to be honest. Below is a list of the equipment I used to make this recipe.
- a large skillet, preferably nonstick. You want a skillet that is at least 12″ in diameter so that you can cook all the apples at once. You could alternately use a smaller skillet and just cook the apples in batches. I actually used my non-stick all-clad wok (one of my favorite kitchen tools ever!).
- a large baking dish or skillet. I actually make this in my Lodge braiser, but it would work great in a 9×13 baking dish like this one.
That’s it! Any other questions? Drop them in the comments section below!
Other recipes you may like:
brioche french toast with wild blueberry syrup
easy skillet apple pecan crisp
caramelized apple fritters with vanilla bean glaze
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