perfect timing: pumpkin french toast casserole

Company coming?  Overnight casseroles are an excellent breakfast answer.  And this one for pumpkin french toast just kind of rocks.  Just like Mallory, one of my lulu co-workers who brought this in all nice and warm to the store one morning.  We kind of have our own little two person cooking club going on.  We share a mutual appreciation of Barefoot Contessa recipes, food blogs and husbands that appreciate good food.  This is just all kinds of delicious and so easy.  Perfect for Thanksgiving weekend!  I used the always worth it challah bread and pumped up the spices and served it to rave reviews our last home football weekend when we had guests to join us in the misery that is Purdue football.  This is so divine on it's own with it's struesel topping, but warm maple syrup just takes it to another level. 

Now I need to learn how to make "crack bacon" like Kelly and I devoured at Grub in a 1920's Hollywood bungalow.  Of course we ate our brunch outside being Midwestern girls who find sunny 60 degree November days perfect for patio dining, particularly if you are surrounded by heaters.  Turns out Grub is the restaurant of Betty Fraser from Top Chef, which means little to me but will surely give it some cache to my BFF Susan and all the other Top Chef devotees.  Side note:  Finally DVR'ing a Top Chef season.  I know, it's obviously something I would love and Susan's been reminding me of that for years.  I'll surely post a  "crack bacon" recipe as soon as I figure it out.  And I'll give you my review of the show.  Nothing like being a little late to the party.

Grub in Hollywood, CA just one of many amazing meals coordinated by
travel planner extraordinaire, Kelly
Pumpkin French Toast Casserole

One loaf challah bread, torn into big chunks (any day-old bread will do)
6 large eggs
2 1/2 C milk (skim is fine)
1 C pumpkin puree
3/4 C sugar
2 T vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/3 C flour
1/3 C packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
5 T unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces

Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.  Place bread chunks evenly across pan.  
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.  Pour evenly over bread, turning to coat if needed.  Cover pan with plastic wrap (or lid if your baking pan has one).  Store overnight in refrigerator.  

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.   Add butter pieces and cut into flour mixture using a fork, pastry blender or your hands until mixture clumps together in pea-size pieces.  Cover topping and store in refrigerator.  

When you are ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Remove casserole from refrigerator and carefully distribute the streusel topping over the french toast mixture.  Bake, uncovered for 45-55 minutes or until the french toast is set and golden brown.  Serve hot or warm with warm syrup, if desired.

ingredients with torn challah bread ready in baking pan

whisking together milk, eggs, pumpkin and spices

pouring it over the bread

ready to chill

struesel topping ingredients

struesel topping

Well, I'd love to show you the casserole sprinkled with the struesel and the baked finished product.  But  I had Greg bake the casserole while I was at yoga and it was half-eaten by the time I got home.  Oops.  I'll make it again.  I am sure you an imagine it.....


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