Made with loaf-style egg bread, this recipe offers a new take on an old brunch favourite.
1 loaf egg bread*
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups 10% cream
5 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
*Preferably the kind baked in loaf pans (allows for bigger bread slices), not the free-form braided loaves. If you can only get the braided variety, simply slice more bread to fill the pan.
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375°F.
Step 2: Cut bread into 3/4" thick slices. Trim off crusts. Cut enough slices to make a two-slice layer that fits snugly inside a 9" x 13" glass baking pan.
Step 3: Spoon applesauce over bottom slices of bread and place another layer of bread on top. In effect, you are making a series of applesauce "sandwiches" that fit in the pan. Set aside.
Step 4: Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and gradually whisk in cream until smooth. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Pour over bread, making sure all the bread is soaked. (French toast can be made up to this point, covered and chilled overnight. Let the pan come to room temperature in the morning as you make the caramel glaze, then proceed with glazing and baking.)
Step 5: In a small saucepan, melt caramel glaze ingredients over medium heat. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved and resulting syrup is lightly bubbling. Pour glaze over pan of soaked bread. Use the back of a spoon to smooth glaze over bread surface.
Step 6: Bake 45-50 minutes, until top is puffed and browned. The centre should be soft and slightly wobbly. Serve hot with maple syrup and berries, if desired.