Sunday, January 29, 2012

French Toast Pie

I tend to avoid starch and carbs if at all possible. I think I can blame my parents for this. My dad for uncovering a diet that actually worked for him (meat and veg only!) and my vegetarian mother who insisted on having 5 different colored vegetables on the table every night for dinner. For me it's not that hard to forgo potatoes and bread. I'm not one of those people who could live off of bread alone. However when you are trying to save money by eating whatever culinary schools gives you, you might end up with a lot of starch and carbs. I don't mind really. 

You've seen the croutons already and I've spared you the tuna fish sandwiches and freezer full of breadcrumbs. I have already posted twice about french toast but this was too good not to document.  I'm calling it a French Toast Pie and it was amazing. Maybe the best. Maybe the best French Toasted thing I've ever had. I think the bread making students are really the ones who deserve the acclaim- they provided the whole grain loaf and the stunning Kugelhopf- a traditional bread from the Alsace region of France. It tastes like brioche with a sweet and slightly crunchy crust, mine was topped with almonds and studded with raisins and dried cherries. 

Spoils from the new job. A box full of baby's breath
I only made this pie so I could be terribly clever and have it in the freezer for a surprise instant brunch one morning. The surprise was on me- it lasted one day in the freezer and one morning on the table. Delicious!

French Toast Pie
The Kugelhopf really makes this dish amazing. If you can't find one- do not fret! Just substitute in some brioche and add dried raisins and cherries. This freezes well, just wrap the pie in 2 layers of cling film and 2 layers of aluminum foil. Press the bread down with some frozen food to submerge all the food into the custard. To reheat the pie, place it in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until heated through. If the top starts getting brown, cover with foil.

  • 1/3 small whole grain loaf (about 2 cups, shredded)
  • 1/4 loaf kugelhopf or brioche (about 4 cups, shredded)
  • Raisins, dried cherries and almonds (optional)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Demerara sugar
Tear bread into pieces and layer it into the pie dish. If using brioche, throw in the dried fruits and nuts. Try to make the top of the pie relatively flat- you can even squash it down if necessary. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs, half & half, milk, cinnamon and extract, if using. Pour over the bread- you may have some extra. Wrap the pie up with two layers of cling film and one layer of aluminium foil. Place the pie in the fridge overnight but place some heavy object on top of the pie to help submerge all the bread into the custard. 

The following day, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 
Sprinkle the Demerara sugar over the pie and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes. If you can't see the custard, top it off with some extra milk. You really want custard all the way up! If the pie starts to brown, cover it with some of the foil. Your pie is done when the bread has absorbed most of the custard and everything is spongy, golden and delicious looking.

Enjoy with maple syrup, a pat of butter and coffee. 

Freeze it for a rainy, lazy sunday morning! Maybe after going to the gym?


  1. I really want to try this! How much time will it take to do this? I'm so impatient with these things. :)

  2. Hi Craig! Assembling this should be super fast- 5 to 10 minutes. And you can freeze it straight away to save for later or bake it for about 30 minutes in your pre-heated oven. Let me know if you make it and how it goes!