You may not believe it, but last week, I picked forty pounds of blueberries. In one day.
Yessirree, quite the feat.
Okay, I actually picked up forty pounds of blueberries from a local farm market, packed in two twenty-pound boxes. But I did carry one of the boxes to my van by myself!
Most of those little gems were sorted, washed, frozen, and bagged with the help of three little children who were paid for their labors in fresh blueberries. I kept some aside to keep fresh in the refrigerator for snacking, oatmeal toppings, and baked goodies. One of those goodies we enjoyed this week was a baked french toast featuring blueberries and cream cheese, and sweetened with a bit of stevia powder. Read on for the recipe!
Blueberries are nutritional powerhouses, and combined with the proteins from milk and eggs, baking them into a french toast can be a solid start to your day. Using a high quality bread, like a homemade sourdough or other made-from-scratch-with-real-ingredients loaf, also adds to the nutrition of this recipe, rather than stealing it away. Cream cheese gives a nice special touch, stevia powder lends a bit of sweetness while not adding sugar, while cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla round out the comforting goodness.
If you are familiar with the recipes I post, you are also aware that my measurements tend to be a bit estimated. I think I have more exact measurements for this one.
Also, a word on bread. Depending on the type of bread you use, you may need more or less of the egg and milk mixture. I used our homemade wheat bread, which has a denser texture. If you were to use a white, bagged, store bread (and if you do… let’s talk bread making sometime!) you would probably want to reduce the amount of milk and eggs you use since that kind of bread is rather squishy to begin with. I also like to keep the bread crusts on, mostly because I like the added texture that they give. Most recipes for baked french toast tell you to remove the crusts, so do what your family prefers. Don’t throw away the crusts if you cut them off, though. That would be terribly un-frugal and would break my heart. Make breadcrumbs or at least feed the ducks at your local pond.
Baked blueberry and cream cheese french toast
Cubed bread of choice, preferably a homemade or naturally made loaf, with sourdough being ideal
For each cup of cubed bread, you will need:
- 1 beaten egg, preferably from a farm with happy roaming chickens
- 1/4 cup milk, preferably real, raw, and whole
A 9×13 pan would do well with about 8-10 cups bread, with the appropriate number of eggs and milk amounts. I’ll do the rest of the recipe figuring on a 9×13 pan.
- 4 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 8oz block of cream cheese
- 2 t. vanilla
- 1/4 t. stevia powder
- 1-2 T. cinnamon (I’m heavy on the cinnamon)
- 1/2 t. nutmeg
- pinch sea salt
1. Butter your baking dish, and layer in it half of the bread cubes.
2. Sprinkle in the blueberries so that they evenly over the bread cubes. Cut the cream cheese into small blocks or hunks, and place them evenly over the blueberries.
3. Layer the rest of the bread cubes on top.
4. Beat the eggs, milk and remaining ingredients in a large mixing cup or medium bowl. Pour evenly over the bread cubes.
5. Use the back of a large spoon to gently press the bread into the egg mixture. Cover the pan and let it soak and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight.
6. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350ish and remove the pan from the fridge.
7. You can sprinkle the top with additional cinnamon and a bit of sugar before baking if you’d like, otherwise, pop that tasty treat in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. I baked mine uncovered, but you can cover it if you don’t want the top as crispy as I like mine. When it’s done, the middle should be firm and no longer wet.
8. Top with butter or fresh whipped cream, and a drizzling of honey or real maple syrup. We ate ours with sausage patties, and orange slices would have been a nice touch if we’d had them.
Go enjoy some seasonal blueberries! How are you eating yours?