Oh my goodness you guys, you are going to love this Apple Cider Donut French Toast Casserole. All the fall flavors you love wrapped up in one big delicious comfort food donut baked French toast breakfast (or dessert, for that matter).
There are a few components to this baked French toast, and every step is totally worth it.
If you’re a fan of custardy breakfast foods and overnight French toast, then you may also want to try my chocolate donut bread pudding or make this Moravian Sugar Cake Baked French Toast for Christmas brunch.
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Baked French Toast and Bread Pudding: Delicious Synonyms
Happy Fall, y’all.
I’ve been able to have the windows open the last couple of nights, and I am in the mood for sweaters, fires, and hot chocolate.
So to start off the fall festivities, I bring you apple cider doughnut French toast casserole.
We all know baked French toast, French toast casserole, and bread pudding are all pretty much the same thing, so feel to enjoy it for breakfast, for dessert, at a Thanksgiving brunch or with a cup of beaten coffee.
There is really no wrong time to make a French toast casserole, and apple cider doughnuts are everywhere these days.
All you need to do is:
- keep yourself from eating 6 of them and
- break them into pieces and dry them in the oven for a bit.
The rest of the ingredients, you probably already have on hand.
Blanket Your Baked French Toast with Streusel
Oh, about that streusel topping, you guys. I am pretty pleased with myself for this one.
You know how sometimes you mix up streusel and it ends up either too clumpy or too sandy?
Well, here’s what I did for this streusel–and it really only works if you don’t want little discrete “bits” of streusel.
This method gives you a blanket of streusel as thick as you want.
- Mix sugar, flour, butter, salt, vanilla, and spice until it looks like cookie dough.
- Scrape out onto a piece of plastic wrap or parchment and form it into a log.
- Roll it up and freeze it until hard.
- Use a box grater to grate the streusel onto your French toast casserole, or onto whatever needs to be streuseled.
Apple Cider Donut French Toast Casserole
Everybody loves a good apple cider doughnut. I need to figure out how to make some for the blog.
Until then, I used some store-bought apple cider doughnuts to make this French toast casserole/bread pudding.
I also used another “convenience food:” apple pie filling. So much apple flavor packed into this casserole, y’all, and it’s very easy to make.
I’ll give you a list of how-tos and then give you a recipe. But please know you can use more or less sugar, more or less spice, more or less salt, leave out the nuts, etc.
How to Make Donut French Toast Casserole
Making this donut French toast casserole (or baked French toast or bread pudding–a rose by any other name) is very easy.
The procedure is the same for almost any kind of baked French toast, regardless of the bread or doughnuts you use:
- Break doughnuts up into 4-5 pieces each.
- Bake at 250F for an hour or so until dry. Let cool.
- Add some apple pie spice to your apple pie filling and chop it up really well so you don’t get huge honking chunks of apples.
- Toast some pecans.
- Mix the doughnuts with the apples and pecans and put in a casserole dish.
- Make the streusel and freeze (as above) (if you like sandy streusel, just cut all the ingredients together and leave it a little sandy)
- Mix up some custard (eggs/sugar/milk) flavored with apple pie spice.
- Pour over doughnuts and let soak overnight in the fridge.
- Grate the frozen streusel onto the casserole, and bake.
So, that’s the game plan. Before we get started, let’s make sure you have all you need.
Baked French Toast Equipment Recommendations
I’m as much a fan of a clear glass baker as the next person. They go with everything and are inexpensive. But I also own some lovely seasonal bakers that are perfect for comfort food like this. Consider this lovely ruffled Emile Henry baker or this Mason Cash rectangular baker I think is truly timeless.
Tips for Making This Baked French Toast
It looks like a lot of ingredients and steps, but you can make the streusel and/or the syrup weeks in advance if you want.
Toast the nuts ahead of time, too. Let them cool completely and then store them in the freezer until ready to bake.
You can also make the custard while the doughnuts are drying in the oven. The main thing is to enjoy it!
NOTE: Most of my recipes are written by weight and not volume, even the liquids.
Even though I try to provide you with volume measurements as well, I encourage you to buy a kitchen scale for ease of measuring, accuracy, and consistency.
This is the scale I use, love, and recommend:
I really hope you love this donut French toast casserole, you guys! If you make it, please share a photo with me, either in the PCO Facebook Group or on instagram by tagging @onlinepastrychef and using hashtag #pcorecipe. Thanks, and enjoy!
For the Streusel
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 4 oz cake flour
- 4 oz light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice or cinnamon
- heavy pinch salt
For the Custard
- 3 cups whole milk (you can use 2% if you want)
- 6 oz light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- heavy pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Syrup
- 32 oz apple cider, (1 quart)
- small pinch salt
- small pinch apple pie spice
To Assemble and Bake
- 6 day-old apple cider doughnuts, homemade or store bought
- 1 cup prepared apple pie filling
- 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice (only if your pie filling isn't seasoned)
- 1/2-1 cup chopped pecans, toasted (or walnuts. Or leave the nuts out altogether)
For the Spiced Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- brown sugar, to taste, 2-4 Tablespoons
- pinch salt
- heavy pinch apple pie spice
For the Streusel
- Mix all ingredients together until it looks like cookie dough
- Scoop streusel onto a piece of parchment or plastic wrap.
- Form into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap well and freeze until solid, about 2 hours.
For the Custard
- Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth with no eggy bits floating around. Set aside. Whisk again right before assembling the casserole/pudding.
For the Syrup
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil until syrup is reduced to between 3 and 4 ounces.
- You're reducing 1 quart to about 1/2 cup, so it will take quite a while--maybe 30-40 minutes depending on your stove. Keep an eye on it and occasionally pour the contents of the pan into a measuring cup to check if you've reduced it enough.
To Assemble and Bake
- Combine the dried doughnuts, pecans and apple pie filling in a 9"-11" square baker and mix well to distribute the apples and pecans evenly.
- Pour the custard evenly over the doughnuts. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Before baking, evenly grate as much of the frozen streusel as you want on top of the pudding.
- Bake in the center of your oven at 350F until nicely puffed and deep golden brown all over, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Internal temperature in the center of the pudding should be about 160F.
- Cool until just warm before slicing and serving with spiced whipped cream and some of the apple cider syrup.
To Make the Whipped Cream
- Combine the cream, the smaller amount of sugar, the salt, and the apple pie spice in a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer or a whisk, beat to medium peaks. Taste, and add more sugar if you would like. Continue beating until the cream holds stiff peaks.
Prep time does not include drying the doughnuts or making the syrup. Fee free to dry the doughnuts in a low oven (about 200F) for an hour or so.
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Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 673 Total Fat 36g Saturated Fat 17g Trans Fat 1g Unsaturated Fat 16g Cholesterol 114mg Sodium 316mg Carbohydrates 80g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 2g Sugar 53g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 9g
And that’s it, friends. Apple cider donut French toast casserole. Whether you enjoy it for breakfast, brunch, dessert, or a coffee break, I think you’re going to love it.
Thanks for reading. Take care, and have a lovely day.