Baked Stuffed French Toast
Mother’s Day is right around the corner! Like any self-respecting mother, I plan to lounge in bed until ten painting my toenails and catching up on celebrity gossip magazines. I’ll call my BFF Keri and talk for hours. I’ll stare at the ceiling. I’ll think about things I haven’t thought about in years. Important stuff like the color I want to paint my bedroom walls and whether or not I should buy hiking boots.
My clean-faced children will bring me a plate of perfectly poached eggs and side of toast. My husband will follow with a hot cup of coffee (don’t forget the cream) and the Sunday newspaper. They will promptly file out of the room and leave me alone with the sweet sound of silence. Maybe I’ll go for a long run. Maybe I’ll take a long nap. It’s Mother’s Day! I can do whatever I want!
This is usually the point when I wake up from this beautiful dream to the baby’s soaked diaper and the 4-year old’s pleas for breakfast, to drag the groggy 6-year old out of bed and leave for church at the exact moment when we should be pulling into the parking lot. I’ll eat a bowl of yogurt and gulp down a cup of coffee in the car, while telling my husband that next week we will pull it together and be on time.
While the dream version sounds pretty amazing, I wouldn’t change the real deal for the world. Mother’s Day is a pretty simple event around our house. It’s church and family. Simple cards and lots of cuddles, food and laughter. Hopefully sunshine. Maybe a bike ride.
You might be hosting a family brunch or just feeding your own crew. Or maybe you aren’t doing any of those things but just want a good breakfast with leftovers for the rest of the week. If you are bobbing around in one of those boats, this is the recipe you should make: Baked Stuffed French Toast. I ripped it out of a recent issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. This simple recipe pulls five ingredients together to create a delicious French toast that’s more savory than sweet.
I’m not normally interested in baked French toast recipes because they always seem too gloppy and mushy and sugary. This recipe is none of those things. The sturdy bread soaks up the egg mixture without turning soggy and tucked inside is a savory mixture of salty ham and melted cheese. You can drizzle the stuffed French toast with maple syrup or serve it with mustard. Or just let your kids pick it up and eat it with their hands. It’s kind of like simple French Toast meeting those fancy Croque Monsieur Sandwiches. Now that is a combination worth waking up for.
And the best part is that this recipe is meant to be made ahead of time. Prep everything the night before and let it soak overnight in the fridge. The next morning you simply pull it out of the fridge 30 minutes before you need to pop it in the oven. I actually prepped everything in the morning and served it for dinner, along with a fruit salad and a green salad with my favorite Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette.
The original recipe calls for 8 slices of bread in a 9×13 pan. That wasn’t happening with the size of my bread, so I compromised with seven pieces in a 10×16 pan. Do what works for you, but you basically want to cut thick slices of bread and use your biggest baking pan. The original recipe also calls for Gruyere cheese, which is pretty pricey. I used Swiss cheese instead, but you could use almost any cheese and still get delicious results.
Baked Stuffed French Toast
Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living
1 (12-14″) loaf rustic bread, cut into 7-8 slices
1/2 lb. ham, thinly sliced
8 oz. cheese, thinly sliced
2/3 c. whole milk
salt and pepper
mustard (Dijon, ground, hot)
- Using butter or cooking spray, cover bottom and sides of a large baking dish (9×13″ or 10×16″); set aside. Make a deep slit in each bread slice to create a pocket. Stuff each with 1 slice of ham and 1 slice of cheese.
- Whisk together eggs and milk in a bowl until combined, and season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the prepared baking dish. Add the stuffed bread slices in a single layer, gently pressing into egg mixture, and let soak 15 minutes. Flip bread and again press gently into the egg mixture. Soak for another 15 minutes. (You can soak the bread in the egg mixture for just 30 minutes, but the French toast will be better if you let it sit overnight. If preparing the day before, refrigerate up to 12 hours, loosely covered, then let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Top bread with remaining ham and cheese slices arranged on top of the bread. Bake until egg mixture is set and cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Turn oven to broil, with rack 4-6″ from heat source. Checking often, broil until bread is toasted and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve hot with maple syrup and/or mustard.
I love this simple Bormioli Rocco Misura Carafe (Amazon). It holds about 34 oz. and would be perfect for serving juice. And for around 15 bucks, it would be an inexpensive way to ditch the cartons and add some class to your next gathering. “Oh that old thing? That’s just my Bormioli Rocco Misura Carafe…” I’d do it.
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