This orange cranberry French toast bake uses the quintessential flavors of fall in an unexpected, new way. It’s a morning dish that’s way more fun than muffins — and maybe easier, too. Whether you’re making it for a fall brunch or for Thanksgiving morning, this French toast bake preps early for smooth sailing.
And because Thanksgiving cooking gets super-hectic the day of, this dish a great solution. A breakfast that you can prepare the night before, maybe even while making fresh cranberry sauce, is a surefire winner!
I dream of making croissants myself, but I also believe in working smarter, not harder — especially during the holidays. So, save yourself some time, and grab about a dozen croissants from the store.
Save the orange peel of at least one orange, and set aside the zest for the egg mixture.
Cut the croissants in half and place half of them on a large baking pan. Disperse half the cranberries, orange slices, and crumbled goat cheese evenly between the layers of croissants. Add the remaining croissants, and then top with the remaining oranges, cranberries and goat cheese.
Now for the egg mixture: Combine and whisk eggs, milk, salt, maple syrup, vanilla and orange peel. Pour the mixture over the pan, making sure to spread evenly. Not everything will be drenched in the egg mixture. That’s ideal. You’ll get the French toast custard-like bake on most of the dish, while some of the croissants at the top stay nice and toasty. This adds texture that separates the dish from strata and bread pudding.
Cover the French toast bake with foil and refrigerate. If you want to leave it overnight, you can. If you just want to make it early in the morning and refrigerate for just an hour or two, that works, too.
Take the dish out of the refrigerator and let set on the counter for 30 minutes. When you have 10 minutes left, preheat your oven to 350 F. Bake for 40 minutes, with the dish still covered by foil. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the center is firm.