Portsmouth Harbor Inn & Spa
Pear, Brie and Rosemary French Toast Casserole
Oven temp: 375°
Baking Time: 40 – 45 mins from the refrigerator in preheated oven
Pan size; 9” x 13
Make in advance 1 – 24 hrs, covered and refrigerated
5 medium pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced* (anjous, boscs, bartletts)
3 T brown sugar, packed
1 T fresh rosemary, snipped
6 T butter, divided (3 T for cooking pears, 3 melted separately for brushing on top of bread)
One 1 ½ lb challah, cut into 2” cubes
10 oz (or more to taste) Brie, rind removed and thinly sliced (slice when cold, not warm, for neater slices)
2 T granulated sugar
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon or cardamom
3 c milk
1 T vanilla
1 tsp kosher salt
Suggested toppings: maple syrup, cranberry conserve, fresh berries or honey
Grease baking pan. In large skillet cook together pears, brown sugar and rosemary in 3 T butter over medium heat 4 – 5 minutes, or until pears are just tender. (If pears are very juicy, remove slices from pan and cook down pan juices a bit.) Cover the bottom of the baking pan a single layer deep with the cubed bread, spoon pears and pan juices over the bread. Place slices of Brie on top of the pears, and cover with another layer of cubed bread. Drizzle with 3 T melted butter; combine sugar and spice(s) and sprinkle evenly over buttered bread. Whisk well together eggs, milk, vanilla and salt, and pour slowly over all. Cover and chill 1 – 24 hrs.
Bake in heated 375° oven, uncovered, 40 – 45 minutes or until edges are puffed and golden. Let stand 10 minutes, and serve as is, or with topping of your choice (or serve with toppings on the side).
*Note: When pears are very juicy, pare, core and slice over a bowl, and pour through a fine strainer, pressing well to force out as much pulp and juice as possible; add to pan with pear slices, brown sugar and rosemary and cook until pears are just tender, remove pear slices from skillet and place over cubed bread, and continue cooking pulp and pan juices together until somewhat thickened and reduced a bit. Continue with recipe.