Maple Pecan Baked French Toast is a breakfast treat I love making for birthdays, holidays, or when we have overnight guests. Toasty cinnamon-sugar dusted bread is drenched in creamy vanilla custard, dotted with sweet tart raspberries, and baked on top of a layer of maple-pecan-browned butter. It is divine.
The contrasts in this dish are my favorite. The toasted top is crispy and crunchy, but the bottom is buttery and soft. The custard is rich, but the bread is light. The browned pecans and maple syrup are heady and deep, but the raspberries are tangy and tart. The combination of maple, browned-butter, cinnamon, and egg are just the best. It’s everything I want in a breakfast treat.
One of the perks of Maple Pecan Baked French Toast is assembling it the night before you serve it. When you wake up, pop it in the oven, brew some coffee, maybe fry some bacon, and then sit down to an easy breakfast that will delight everyone.
If possible, use stale bread. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but it is so much better if your bread is dry to begin with. If you have the time, let your bread cubes sit uncovered at room temperature for a day. The dry bread will better soak up all of the delicious custard. It’s not a mandatory step, but it does make this dish even better.
Ready to see Maple Pecan Baked French Toast in action? I created a short video for you below. I hope you enjoy!
Maple Pecan Baked French Toast
- 1 loaf challah or other bread about 1 pound total weight
- 2 cups fresh raspberries optional, but delicious and pretty!
for the maple pecan layer…
- 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup brown sugar lightly packed
- 1/2 cup maple syrup the real stuff!, plus more for serving
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
for the custard…
- 8 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- for the cinnamon sugar…
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Cube the bread and set aside.
- Begin by making the maple pecan layer. In a small pan, heat the butter over medium heat until it melts and begins to foam. Add the chopped pecans. Continue to let the butter cook until it browns, but without burning the pecans. This will take between three and five minutes. Stir the butter around to see if it is browned, and use your nose to determine when it is toasty. It should smell amazing without a hint of burn. Remove from the heat and stir the brown sugar and maple syrup into the hot butter mixture. Stir until the brown sugar is dissolved. Pour into the bottom of a 9X13 pan and set aside.
- To make the custard, beat the eggs in a large bowl or measuring cup until they are frothy and fully mixed. Add the half-and-half, vanilla, and salt and combine.
- To make the cinnamon sugar, stir together the granulated sugar and cinnamon.
- To assemble, place half of the bread pieces over the maple pecan layer. Pour half of the liquid over and top with half of the cinnamon sugar. Add the second layer of bread the remaining egg mixture and the remaining cinnamon sugar. Gently press the bread down with a spatula to encourage it to soak up the liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight.
- The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap and add the raspberries to the top of the french toast, if using.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until the center of the casserole is no longer wet with visible egg mixture.
- Remove from the oven and serve with warmed maple syrup.