I must start with a big thank you to Matthew at Vegan Heartland . He recently adapted a Paula Deen French Toast Casserole and as soon as I saw it I knew I was going to make it! With family coming from out of town this seemed like a perfect breakfast since it could be prepped the night before making morning breakfast simpler.
I changed it just slightly to use So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk instead of soy but other than that followed Matthew's recipe exactly. What a terrific Sunday morning breakfast! While super easy to make, this was received with rave reviews. I will do this again and again and probably try some add-ins as well. In particular, I think the next time I make this I will add in a layer of thinly sliced apples. But, even without any embellishment, this is delicious!
As a side note, this is the second time I have tried a Vegan Version of a Paula Deen recipe. My Country Herb Biscuits came out great and this did as well. I think I may be on to something, here!
French Toast Casserole
For the casserole:
1 unsliced loaf soft crusty country bread (I got mine at Wegman's)
3 cups organic unbleached flour
3 cups non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut)
3 tbsp organic turbinado sugar
2 tsp organic vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/.2 tsp nutmeg
Walnut praline topping (recipe below)
For the topping:
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tbsp organic maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Cut the loaf of bread into 3/4" thick slices. I left my bread out on the counter unwrapped all day to allow it to get slightly "stale".
In a large bowl mix the flour, non-dairy milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg until a batter forms. Place half the sliced bread in a large casserole dish (the one I used was the equivalent of about a 9x13. Place a layer of bread in the bottom. Spread half the batter on top. Place another layer of bread on top and spread the rest of the batter on top. Wrap in foil and place in the refrigerator overnight.
The next morning preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
While the oven is heating prepare the walnut praline topping by mixing all ingredients in a bowl until incorporated and a thick paste forms. Spread the mixture on top of the casserole. Bake for 35-40 minutes until browned and bubbly. Allow to stand for ten minutes before serving.