Baked Cherry French Toast

This luscious baked French Toast is a perfect weekend breakfast. Farm fresh sweet cherries are topped with toasted cubed artisan bread soaked in eggs and half and half, and then baked to create an almost bread pudding like French Toast.

You can use any good, dense, chewy bread in this recipe. I used Volker’s Cranberry Orange bread. A fabulous bread with a great chewy texture and loaded with tart, sweet flavors. You can buy Volkers amazing bread at Farmer’s Markets in the Salt Lake area.

This summer I participated in the Utah’s Own Recipe Roundup. My Baked Cherry French Toast recipe was the winner of round two. So on Friday I got to compete with the other seven weekly winners at the Utah State Fair.

This was my first time competing in the Utah’s Own contest and it was a fun opportunity. I loved learning more about and helping raise awareness of the great Utah’s Own products. The winner of this year’s Recipe Roundup was Carmell Childs with an elegant Truffle Crepe Cake.

We were given two tickets so we could bring someone along to help. I asked fellow food blogger and my sweet friend, Becky, Vintage Mixer, to come help me set up and be my “stylist” for the competition. She has an amazing sense of style and I don’t know what I would have done without her help and support. Thanks Becky!

Also, a big thank you to Utah’s Own for hosting such a fun event. I’ve already started thinking of fun recipes for next year’s competition.

Baked Cherry French Toast

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf Volkers Bakery Orange Cranberry Bread, cubed*
  • 6 Oakdell eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Meadow Gold half and half
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dutch Mill imitation vanilla
  • Redmond Real Salt fine salt
  • 1/2 cup Xagave agave nectar*
  • 1 tablespoon Cornaby’s Thick Gel Food Starch (corn starch)**
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 4 cups McMullin Orchards cherries, pitted and halved*
  • 1/4 cup Meadow Gold butter, melted
  • Kodiak Mountain Berry Syrup, for serving

Directions:

Spread bread evenly in a jelly roll pan and toast for 20 minutes at 350°. Cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl beat together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Pour egg mixture over cooled toasted bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Combine agave, cornstarch, orange zest and a pinch of salt. Fold in cherries. Pour into a greased 13×9 baking pan.

Place the chilled bread mixture on top of the fruit mixture.

Drizzle the melted butter over the bread.

Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until golden brown and sauce has thickened. Cover with foil if the top is getting too brown.

*You can substitute 1 1/2 pounds of your favorite dense, chewy bread, 2/3 cup sugar instead of the agave and any sweet fruit that is in season.

**If using frozen cherries add an additional 1 tablespoon corn starch