Last weekend, I headed down to Maryland for a long overdue visit with my family. Weeks blur to months and I quickly realize in the rapid pace I live my life in New York that a full season has passed me by without going home.
I was thrilled to visit in my mom’s prime: the house was decorated in pastels, easter eggs, bunny rabbits and tulips. Paul often grumbles about having to sift through my collections of seasonal decor in our cabinets to get to anything important, but it’s very clear where I get this from.
I also have my mom to thank for my entertaining and cooking prowess, as she has fed us and others with delicious, homemade, and healthy food my entire life. This weekend was no exception, as we were greeted with enough food to feed my entire NYC apartment building on Friday night, which carried its way through Saturday and Sunday.
On Easter, my mom decided to host a brunch at home, which for normal people might mean pancakes and bacon, but for my mom meant an endeavor that included overnight blueberry french toast, a baked egg, gruyere and leek dish, almond croissants and fruit salad (among other festive chocolate treats).
These brunch dishes are often featured in our more special mornings and are a delicious and reliable go-to when you want to impress guests at home. Today, I’ll share the french toast recipe, which includes challah bread, cream cheese, and a homemade blueberry syrup. This is extremely decadent but doesn’t require too much work, beyond the prep time the night prior and the syrup the morning of.
– 12 slices day old Challah bread (cut into 1-inch cubes)
– 16 oz cream cheese (cut into 1 inch cubes)
– 1 cup fresh blueberries
– 12 eggs (beaten)
– 2 cups milk
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/3 cup maple syrup
– 1 cup white sugar
– 2 tablespoons cornstarch
– 1 cup water
– 1 cup fresh blueberries
– 1 tablespoon butter
1. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange half the bread cubes in the dish, and top with cream cheese cubes. Sprinkle 1 cup blueberries over the cream cheese, and top with remaining bread cubes.
2. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and syrup. Pour over the bread cubes. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
3. Remove the bread cube mixture from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
4. Cover, and bake 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking 25 to 30 minutes, until center is firm and surface is lightly browned.
5. In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, cook 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in the remaining 1 cup blueberries. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, until the blueberries burst. Stir in the butter, and pour over the baked French toast