Baked French toast is the answer to feeding a crowd in the morning without having to stand over the stove for lengthy periods of time, flipping slices of French toast piece by piece. And baked pumpkin challah French toast is the answer to what to do when Thanksgiving, Shabbat and Hanukkah all happen over the course of the same weekend (!) and you’re trying to feed a crowd for breakfast.
This recipe uses leftover ingredients and holiday pantry staples. It is made with a day-old loaf of challah, that extra can of pumpkin puree from the cupboard, and a little bit of heavy cream leftover after making pie. This dish can be thrown together in 10 minutes and is ideally assembled the night before you want to serve it. The next day, before putting it in the oven, you can make a quick pecan streusel topping to sprinkle over the top for extra crunch and flavor, or you can omit it, if desired. The spices add flavor and warmth to this French toast, but can also be omitted or modified to your liking. This is a festive and rich dish that is best served warm with good maple syrup or a shower of powdered sugar.
Note: To make ahead and freeze, bake for 30 minutes covered, and allow the dish to fully cool then wrap tightly and freeze. When ready to serve, remove from the freezer and bake for 20 minutes covered, then 15 minutes uncovered at 350°F.
- 1 (about 1.5 lb/600g) loaf challah
- 6 large eggs
- 1 can (15 oz/425 g) unsweetened pumpkin puree
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 2 tsps cinnamon
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- Pinch of nutmeg
For the pecan streusel:
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 3 Tbsps unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsps sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9” x 13” baking dish.
- Slice the challah into ½”-1” slices. Layer the challah into the baking dish in overlapping slices. Cut any slices in half or quarters, if needed, so that every inch of the baking dish is evenly covered in layers of challah.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the pumpkin puree, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, allspice, ginger and nutmeg to the eggs. Beat until everything is smooth and incorporated. Pour the custard evenly over the challah. If any pieces are sticking up above the liquid, lightly press them down to submerge them.
- Cover the baking dish and refrigerate overnight, or for a minimum of 1 hour. As the challah chills, it will fully and evenly absorb all of the liquid.
- Before baking make the streusel by combining the pecans, butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Using your hands or a fork, combine the mixture until it easily clumps together. Sprinkle the streusel over the top of the challah.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes covered, and additional 15-20 minutes uncovered.
- Serve warm, along with maple syrup, powdered sugar or your favorite French toast toppings