The strawberry syrup intensifies the flavor in this strawberry shortcake French toast casserole. This is an excellent summer breakfast treat or cookout dessert. Top it off with a dollop of freshly whipped cream just before serving or use thawed frozen whipped topping.
Brioche bread was used in the pictured French toast bake. Biscuits, croissants, or a good quality French or Italian bread may be used as well.
You'll need about 3 pints (about 6 cups) of strawberries for this recipe. Fresh is best for the casserole, but feel free to use frozen (unsweetened) strawberries to make the syrup.
- For the Strawberry Syrup:
- 4 cups strawberries (cleaned and coarsely chopped or halved)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (combined with 1 tablespoon of cold water)
- For the Bread Mixture:
- 1 loaf/1 lb brioche bread
- 2 cups fresh strawberries (sliced)
- 6 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- For the Streusel Topping:
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup cold butter (cut into small pieces)
- For the Whipped Cream:
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Put the 4 cups of coarsely chopped strawberries in a deep saucepan. Add the 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a full boil over medium-high heat. Watch it carefully — the sauce mixture can boil over quickly once it comes to a boil. Immediately turn the heat to low or medium-low and continue cooking for 30 minutes.
- Combine 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water and stir until smooth. Stir into the syrup mixture and continue cooking for about 1 minute longer, until thickened.
- Strain the strawberries through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Discard the solids. Cover the syrup and refrigerate until serving time.
- Makes about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of syrup.
French Toast Casserole and Streusel
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Lightly butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan or spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
- Slice the bread into 1-inch cubes. Layer half of the bread cubes in the prepared baking pan and top with 1 cup of sliced strawberries. Repeat the layers with the rest of the bread and the remaining 1 cup of sliced strawberries. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, 1/3 cup of sugar, the salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread and strawberry mixture.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and the pieces of butter. Work with a pastry blender or fingers until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the casserole.
- Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until set. Remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes.
- Beat the whipping cream to soft peaks; beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue beating until it holds well-formed peaks.
- Cut the strawberry shortcake French toast casserole into squares. Serve with the cold or slightly warmed syrup and whipped cream.
- Add about 1/2 to 1 cup of fresh blueberries to the French toast mixture along with the sliced strawberries for a Fourth of July dessert.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||11 g|
|Saturated Fat||6 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||3 g|
|Dietary Fiber||5 g|