French toast casserole is one of my absolute all-time favorite breakfast/brunch dishes for several reasons:
- It is perfect for large crowds - make as big of a pan as you desire!
- It can be assembled the night before and popped in the oven the next morning for a quick and convenient breakfast or brunch
- It is super versatile - you can use just about any kind of bread and can load it up with an array of toppings and fruits.
- It is absolutely DELICIOUS!
For this particular recipe, I decided to use buttery, flaky croissants for my bread. The croissants soak up the egg mixture wonderfully and add their own element of texture to the casserole. I also decided to add fresh strawberries to this casserole being that it is summertime in my region and strawberries are the fruit of the summer in my opinion!
For the cream element, I decided to make a fresh lemon whipped cream - because what better compliments fresh strawberries than fresh lemon flavor? Use as much lemon zest or juice as you like depending on how lemony (new word alert!) you want your whipped cream to be. I taste mine as I'm whipping and add more zest and juiced until I'm pleased with the flavor.
The assembly of the dish is super simple - arrange your soaked croissants in your greased pie dish, gently mix in your chopped strawberries, pour any remaining soaking liquid over top and bake up until golden. Dollop your beautiful lemon whipped cream over top and serve it up!
As mentioned earlier, this casserole can be assembled the night before which is especially convenient for holidays or when you have a crowd to serve. I love to assemble one on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve while I'm already cooking and prepping and let is set up in the fridge overnight. Then on Christmas or Thanksgiving morning you've got breakfast ready to go - just pop it in the oven!
Strawberries and Cream Croissant French Toast Casserole
- 4 large croissants torn or cut into fourths
- 5 eggs beaten
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- 1 cup chopped strawberries
- For whipped cream
- 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a deep 9 inch pie dish and set aside.
- Combine all whipped cream ingredients in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, one tablespoon lemon zest, and one teaspoon lemon juice.
- Submerge croissant pieces in egg mixture and soak for 2 to 3 hours.
- Arrange croissants in baking dish, overlapping slightly if necessary. Add chopped strawberries and gently stir with wooden spoon to incorporate into croissants. Pour any remaining egg mixture over croissants, being careful not to overfill baking dish.
- Bake 25-30 minutes, or until casserole is just set in center and golden brown.
- Cool for about about 10 minutes. Dollop whipped cream on top and garnish with remaining lemon zest.