Saturday, March 20, 2010
Pumpkin French Toast Casserole (or banana, apple, other fruit)
This is basically my lazy, casual rendition of French toast, with less work. This recipe is about using what you have on hand or things that you may have no other use for or are about to get up and leave you.
The original Recipe is from Vegan Brunch by Isa, amazing book and worth your hard earned money.
This recipe is great for when you have some stale or dry bread that is past it's prime. Because this recipe is the my lazy vegan version, you can use any old bread or an assortment of breads. No matter how old, dry, stale, hard, broken or decrepit it is, because instead of perfect slices our bread is going to be cubed, torn and shredded. I also made sure to save and add all the bread crumbs I had laying around, so dump out those bags and scrap your cutting boards! Waste not, want not.
This recipe is all about using what you already have, so experiment and substitute to suit your needs. If you don't have pumpkin try squash, banana, fruit compote, sweet potato, apple sauce. Anything!
What you will need:
1 cup canned pumpkin (alternative, depending on what you have could be apple sauce, compote, mashed bananas)
1 cup almond milk (or any other vegan milk)
2 T corn starch (again, it you like potato or other starches use them)
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
two shakes of all spice
optional: Earth balance for buttering the baking dish and dotting the top
Optional add ins: Anything you have laying around, nuts (whole, broken, ground), coconut, dried fruit, chocolate chips, oats, flax seeds, this is your dish and it is about using what you have.
More Options: If you don't want to serve the casserol with syrup or sugar, I would add brown sugar or maple syrup directly to the pumpkin mix to bake in the sweetness so no toppings will be needed.
Also, if you bread mixture looks a little dry once all the juices are absorb splash some more almond milk on top.
Add ins can either be mixed with pumpkin mixture, or tossed with the bread, or even sprinkled over top of the dish! Whatever you want.
a little liquid from jarred ginger or a little bit of grated fresh ginger (again, this is to taste so for stronger bite add more)
expired bread, I had a good 3/4 loaf but you could round this out with fresh bread, all bread crumbs or any bread like items you have around.
Dice your bread into bite sized cubes or tear into chunks if using soft bread save all end pieces, crumbs, fluffy bits and odds and ends. Set aside.
Mix everything else together in a bowl and preheat your oven to 350.
Place all your bread into a shallow rimmed baking dish (you can use a casserole dish or deep dish, this will result in a softer casserole. As the pumpkin mixture is pretty wet, and depending on how hard/dry your bread is you may want more layers to keep in moisture.) Since I like mine less-moist and a little crispy, I'm using a shallow baking dish so my bread is effectively in a single layer.
Pour pumpkin mixture over bread and let sit until oven is ready, the longer it sits the more it absorbs and the softer it gets. So depending on the tough/dryness of your bread and your preference for soft/pudding style eats you may want to let it sit longer.
I added broken walnut pieces to mine and mixed them in last. Mine also looked a little dry so I added a splash of soymilk on top and dotted it with Earth Balance.
Alternatively you can prepare this and place it in your fridge to dish out smaller amounts to cook on an as needed bases. Or even fish out your bread cubes to fry, traditional French toast style throughout the week. MMM
But since I'm being lazy, I'm just gonna plop the whole mess in the oven and not let it sit very long. About 12 minutes, stir let it sit another 12, then bake.
Baking time was around 15-20 mins, again if you'd like a more pudding style dish you could stir/mix it as it cooks and reduce the cooking time.
Now because I didn't add any sugar to the casserole the end result isn't overtly sweet. I prefer to sweeten it to taste on the plate with icing sugar and maple syrup (I also lived with my dad, who hated sweets so I tend to let people add their own sugar). However, if your looking for a sweetened dish ready scoop and eat, I would mix in some maple syrup or brown sugar right into the pumpkin puree.
Serve alone, dusted with sugar, spices, citrus zest, berry sauce, syrup, ice cream or w/e.
alternatively if you like pumpkin, you could make this a savory dish by adding sauted garlic, Rosemary, thyme and onions to the pumkin mixture and extra earth balance.