Lemon Thyme and Ginger

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

I love breakfast food and often find it difficult to decide what meal I want when we go out for brunch. It is always a toss-up between ordering eggs, like Eggs Benedict or in the pancake / french toast category. Breakfast meals are sweet and savory comfort foods that just make the day start off on a happy note. French toast made with good quality bread soaked in a light vanilla custard always makes me happy. Yet today, I wanted to do something slightly different with some make in advance options and fruit topping. Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote, is a special occasion breakfast or brunch with easy do-ahead preparations.

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

Baked French Toast

The type of bread is the first key ingredient. I recommend a Country White Boule or Country White Sourdough Boule. The bread is sturdy and will hold up to an overnight soaking without falling apart. I bought my Country White Sourdough Boule at Whole Foods. It does not have a thick crust which is better suited for french toast. Challah or Brioche are other good choices, but I have yet to test them in this recipe. I do not recommend using regular sandwich bread as it will just fall apart before you start.

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I make french toast by the time I get to the last 4 pieces the egg and milk custard is used up and I need to make more. The first slices of french toast soaked up more than their fair share of custard leaving none to spare for the last few slices. In this recipe, you soak all the bread slices at the same time overnight and every slice gets an even soaking of vanilla-nutmeg custard.

Another advantage of making baked french toast, is you bake the slices of bread at the same time in the oven. This frees up the cooks’ time to enjoy a cup of coffee or make the compote. At first, I was doubtful that baking the french toast would produce browned slices of french toast, but it does. Baked french toast has a great texture with crispy and buttery browned edges and soft and tender insides.

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

Apple Cranberry Compote

The compote combines fresh apples and cranberries with a spiced apple cider reduction. The fruit is gently cooked in butter until the cranberries start to pop. For this recipe, I reduced the amount of sugar, so you can taste the fruit and not the sugar. The cranberries are tart and contrast with the sweet apples. If the cranberries are too tart feel free to add more sugar a tablespoon at a time but make sure all the sugar dissolves before you remove the compote off the heat.

I made the compote with Fuji apples because they were on sale, but any apple that keeps its’ shape will work. Golden Delicious apples,  Granny Smith apples, or Gala apples are all good choices. If you use Granny Smith apples, then you may need more sugar.

Use real apple cider and not apple juice. It just does not taste the same using apple juice. The apple cider reduction is flavored with cinnamon and fresh ginger, that steep in the apple cider while it simmers. Real maple syrup and orange juice add natural sugar to sweeten the compote giving the compote extra flavor the highlights the fruit and not the sugar.

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

Inspiration

This recipe is inspired by and adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, December 2001, Eggnog French Toast with Cranberry Apple Compote.  I love the idea of using eggnog for the custard in French toast, but I decided to tone down the amount of sugar in the compote, and over-the-top sweetness in store-bought eggnog. In this recipe, I use half-and-half and milk in the base with eggs, and flavor the custard with vanilla, sugar and freshly grated nutmeg. If the eggnog custard appeals to you, substitute the milk and half & half with 4 cups (1 quart) of eggnog and only use 4 eggs instead of 7. Also, do not add sugar to the mix.

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

Useful Tool

Transferring the saturated bread slices from the baking dish to the sheet pan, and turning them over to brown, requires a thin and flexible spatula. The best tool is a fish spatula and is the most versatile kitchen tool I own. The flexible and thin metal base easily slides under all types of food and does not stick to the surface like with most spatulas. I own the Victorinox one, but the Wusthof fish spatula is highly recommended by America’s Test Kitchen.

More Breakfast Love

Baked Oatmeal with Apples and Apricots

Airy Banana Oat Pancakes

Smoky Maple Apple Dutch Baby

Orange Spice Belgian Waffles

Baked Eggs with Sautéed Greens and Yogurt Sauce

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

More Cranberry Love

Triple C Cranberry Sauce

Wild Rice Stuffing with Mushrooms and Cranberries

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail

#yesyoucranberry

This recipe is part of a collaborative social media project featuring the beloved fall fruit, cranberries. This collaboration would not exist without the efforts of Ruth and Rebecca of @squaremealroundtable and Annie Garcia of @whatannieseating. Thank you, Annie, Rebecca, and Ruth for all your efforts and keeping the seasonal collaborative projects going. Check out what all the food bloggers and Instagramers have created by following #yesyourcranberry on Instagram or click on the links below.

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Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote

It is easy to enjoy a special breakfast when half the work is done the night before. In fact, all parts of the recipe are easily made in advance. The hearty bread soaks overnight in a nutmeg flavored cream, then baked in the oven the following morning. Top off the French Toast with apple cranberry compote for a sweet and tangy breakfast. Baking the French toast creates French toast with crispy edges and a soft middle, plus all the slices are done at the same time. 

I deliberately used less sugar in the fruit compote and custard, because every baked French toast breakfast I’ve eaten is cloyingly sweet. I like the tartness of the cranberries to counter the sweet apples. Add more sugar, either in the egg custard or fruit compote to your taste, but please use restraint. Or, pass some maple syrup around with the french toast and apple cranberry compote if you prefer the compote with a more syrupy consistency and sweeter.

This recipe is inspired by and adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, December 2001, Eggnog French Toast with Cranberry Apple Compote.

Course Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine American
Keyword Apple Cranberry Compote, Baked French Toast
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Overnight soak 8 hours
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author Ginger

Ingredients

French Toast

  • 1 ¾ - 1 lb. (350 - 450 g) loaf of Country White Boule
  • 7 eggs
  • 2 cups (500 ml) half and half
  • 2 cup (500 ml) whole milk
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 TB (24 g) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 TB (56 g) melted butter divided for the baking pan and top of French toast during baking

Apple Cranberry Compote

  • 2 cups (500 ml) apple cider
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 1/4-inch (.5 cm) slices of fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) real maple syrup
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) orange juice
  • 6 TB (74 g) butter divided
  • 3 apples cut into ½” pieces
  • 2 cups (500 ml) fresh cranberries
  • 2 TB (24 g) sugar

Instructions

Prepare the French Toast

  1. Cut the boule in half across the equator, then cut each half in 1-inch (2.5 cm) slices. Arrange the bread slices on their sides, equally divided between two buttered 9 x 13 xx 2 inches (23 x 33 x 5 cm) baking dishes. Set aside.

  2. In a medium-size bowl, beat the eggs with a fork or wire whisk until blended. Add the milk, half and half, vanilla, nutmeg, and sugar and whisk until combined.
  3. Pour half of the egg-milk mixture into one baking dish with the bread slices, then pour the remaining in the second baking dish. Cover each dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Bake the French Toast

  1. Preheat the oven at 450°F (230°C / Gas Mark 8) with rack in the middle position.
  2. Melt the butter then use half of the melted butter to baste a rimmed sheet pan, large enough to hold all the slices of french toast. Arrange the bread slices, on their sides, on the sheet pan. A thin flexible spatula is the best tool or an offset spatula. Baste the remaining melted butter to on the top of each slice.

  3. Bake for 10 minutes. Carefully turn the bread slices over then continue to bake 10 minutes more, or until each slice is golden brown with crispy edges and soft in the middle.

  4. Serve the baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote

Apple Cranberry Compote

  1. Make the apple cider reduction
  2. Add the apple cider, cinnamon stick, slices of ginger, maple syrup, and orange juice to a medium saucepan on medium-high heat. Bring the cider to a boil then turn down the heat slightly to keep a brisk boil. Cook until the cider reduces to 1 cup, (250 ml), about 20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and ginger slices. Whisk in 2 TB of butter.

  3. Meanwhile, melt 4 TB of the butter in a large pot like a Dutch Oven. Add the apple pieces and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cranberries and sugar, stir then cook until the cranberries pop and the fruit begins to soften but maintains their shape.
  4. Add the apple cider reduction to the apples and cranberries, stir and cook at a simmer for 3 minutes.
  5. The compote can be made up to two days in advance, stored in an airtight container and refrigerated until ready to serve. Heat up on the stove, then serve.
  6. Serve with the Baked French Toast.

#Yesyoucranberry Links

What Annie’s Eating Cranberry Mojitos

Square Meal Round Table’s Cranberry Orange Streusel Pie

Easy and Delish — Avocado Cranberry Hummus Dip

Flottelottehaan Buchteln with Cranberry Oranges Jam

The Cooking of Joy’s Cranberry Curd Tart

Jessie Sheehan Bakes – Cranberry Buckle

Ciao Chow Bambina – Cranberry Pecan Cracker Spread

Baking The Goods – Cranberry Apple Brown Butter Crumble Pie

Katiebird Bakes – Cranberry Sauce Breakfast Rolls

Crumb Top Baking’s Cranberry Orange Overnight Oatmeal Muffins

The Baking Fairy – Vegan Cranberry Apple Bundt Cake

You Can Live Rich On Less – Cranberry Cherry Tarts

Sift & Simmer – White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Bappy Girl – https://bappygirlyum.blogspot.com/

Ronnie Fein – Baked Goat Cheese with Honey Sauce and Cranberries:  http://www.ronniefein.com/blog/on-hanukkah-lets-not-forget-that-a-woman-played-a?rq=Cranberries

Lemon Thyme and Ginger https://lemonthymeandginger.com/baked-french-toast-apple-cranberry-compote

Cranberry Agua Fresca with Mint and Lime: http://www.holajalapeno.com/2016/11/cranberry-agua-fresca.html

Cranberry Pie with Dried Figs and Cashews: http://www.ronniefein.com/blog/honey-cashew-pie

Susannah Chen’s Cranberry Pico de Gallo

Katherine in Brooklyn: Cranberry Cinnamon Buns

Pie Girl Bakes: Dark Chocolate Chunk Cranberry Cookies

Clean Plate Club: Glazed Cream Puffs with Cranberry Buttercream

Tiny Kitchen Capers: http://www.tinykitchencapers.com/white-chocolate-cranberry-oatmeal-cookies/

Le Petit Eats: Dark Chocolate Tart with Cinnamon Sugared Cranberry

Prickly Fresh’s: Cranberry Crostini with Prosciutto & Port Salut

Zestful Kitchen: Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Curd

Simple and Sweet Food: Fresh Ricotta and Spiced Cranberry Crostini

 

 

;Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe. Baked french toast recipe and topped with an apple cranberry compote. Soak the french toast overnight then bake them in the oven while you make the fruit compote. A festive breakfast the for holiday season.

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

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