If you are planning on a holiday breakfast or brunch, you are going to want to add this recipe to your menu. It’s easy, so delicious and can be assembled the night before. This is a great addition to a holiday brunch, or a special holiday breakfast. In fact, the apple filling that can be prepared 3 to 4 days in advance and then just assembled the night before you want to bake it and serve it. Soooo much easier. Turn on oven. Make lattes. Put in oven. Bake. Open presents. Pass out on couch.Done. Boom.
The apple pie filling is adapted from King Arthur Flour and tastes best made with Cortlands, Macouns or McIntosh apples. I tried Granny Smith and I thought the filling came out too watery.
And, let me just say it – OMG, this is so delicious! Slightly crispy on the top, and custardy on the inside, be sure to serve it with warm maple syrup or do what I did and make your own breakfast syrup with some Stonewall Kitchen products – Raspberry Syrup and their New England Cranberry Relish which mixed together in a 2:1 ration, made a festive and fabulous fruity/slightly tart sauce. Yum, yum, yum!
I prepared this recently on the NBC-affiliate WCSH6’s Morning Report with Sharon Rose Vaznis. Click here to watch the video of me making the baked French toast.
And one more thing – I think this would be terrific with other pie filling flavors – I’m envisioning blueberry, cherry, pear….feel free to experiment.
I hope you have a fun and festive December however and whatever you celebrate!
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus additional for pan
- 3 lbs. apples, cored, peeled and sliced (best choices are McIntosh, Macoun or Cortland apples)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup boiled cider or cider syrup or apple juice concentrate
- 1 lb. loaf day-old Challah bread (or other egg-enriched bread)
- 6 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons apple pie spice OR ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup dried sweetened cranberries
- Warm maple syrup or
- Cranberry Raspberry Syrup:
- 1 bottle of Stonewall Kitchen’s Raspberry Syrup
- 1 jar of Stonewall Kitchen’s New England Cranberry Relish
- Before you get started, keep in mind that you are looking to soften the apples, not turn them into applesauce, so the amount of overall cooking time will depend on the type of apple you used. If they are cooking too fast and beginning to break down, just take them off the heat, or if you used heirloom apples, they might take a few more minutes. You want the apples to stay together, but be a bit soft around the edges and fork-tender, they shouldn’t be crisp. I use different apples all the time, so the timing here is a general guideline of what I do MOST of the time!
- Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat for one minute. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add sliced apples and sauté for 2-3 minutes until beginning to soften. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt. In another small bowl, mix together the flour and cornstarch. Add the sugar mixture to the apples, and cook for another minute or two. Add the flour/cornstarch mixture, stir to combine and cook for one minute. Check an apple slice to make sure it is fork tender, and not too crisp. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and boiled cider and combine.
- Scrape the apple filling into a covered container and store in the fridge, up to 3 – 4 days before using.
- Butter a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish. Spread the apple mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Slice the challah bread into 1-inch thick slices, saving the ends for another use (seagulls, a snack…).
- Starting from the 9-inch width of the pan, place the sliced challah over the apple mixture overlapping the slices (think like tiles on a roof) until all of, or almost all of the slices are used (I usually make about 8 rows of bread). Depending on the width of the challah bread, you may have to cut a few slices in half in order to fit, or fill in any gaps. With your hands, lightly press the bread down. This helps get all the batter in…
- In a medium bowl, blend eggs together and add 2 teaspoons of apple pie spice or cinnamon, stir until combined. Add the milk and vanilla and stir until combined. Pour mixture slowly, carefully and evenly over the bread, soaking the bread completely. This is important! So take your time. Scatter the cranberries over the top.
- Cover the pan with a piece of foil and refrigerate overnight, (10 to 12 hours).
- This is easy and according to taste, just mix what you need – I used Stonewall Kitchen’s Raspberry Syrup and their New England Cranberry relish in basically a 2:1 ratio. Mix together in a small bowl until it is somewhat pourable (as opposed to plop-able, if there is such a word) and to taste. If it is too tart for you, add a little bit of maple syrup. You can make this the night before, or in the morning.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake, covered with the foil, for 40 minutes. Uncover the pan and bake for additional 5 to 10 minutes to brown and crisp the top. Start with 5 minutes and take a peek, you don’t want it to burn!
- Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
- Cut into serving pieces and serve warm with warm maple syrup or the Cranberry Raspberry Syrup above.