Skinny baked french toast topped with a simple cooked fresh strawberry topping is a wonderful way to start your Sunday morning (or any morning).
The idea for this baked French toast, originated with my desire use up the remaining half of this loaf of Greek Easter Bread that had begun to dry out…
Baked french toast popped into my head, which sent me on a “light and healthy baked french toast” recipe seeking excursion into my ever growing collection of cookbooks, around the web and back.
There are lots and lots of baked french toast recipes that call for huge amounts of whole eggs, cream, half and half and sugar. But that’s not what I was had in mind. I wanted a Weight Watchers friendly recipe that stuck a balance between tasty and healthy: nothing too austere or too rich.
I decided to use the Baked French Toast Recipe from Holly Clegg’s The New Holly Clegg Trim & Terrific Cookbook, changing it only slightly. Instead of beginning with a layer of “light maple syrup” as she suggested, I opted to sprinkle the top with cinnamon and sugar.
Baked French Toast is a great recipe to serve to a group. It’s make ahead and bakes all at once, so you avoid having to stand at the stove flipping for what can seem like an eternity. You prepare it the night before and leave it in the fridge overnight so the bread soaks up all the milky/eggy goodness and gets soft. Then, in the morning, all you need to do is pop it into the oven until it’s puffy and golden brown.
What kind of bread makes the best baked French toast? That depends on your taste preferences. Egg breads, such as this leftover Greek Easter bread or brioche, whole grain bread and French bread will all work. But, if the bread you are using has a really crunchy crust, you may want to remove the crust (because it may be really chewy even after baking) and then tear the bread apart into bite-size pieces, instead of cutting it into slices.
With a large container of strawberries in the fridge, I decided to make a simple strawberry topping for the light and healthy baked French toast. It was a delicious accompaniment.
- 1 loaf (about 1 pound) bread, crust removed if hard
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 eggs
- 2 egg whites
- 1-1/2 cups skim milk (I used half condensed nonfat milk for added richness)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 6 cups strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
- Slice the bread into 1-inch slices or tear into 1-inch pieces and arrange evenly in the prepared pan.
- In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, vanilla and 3 tablespoons of the sugar and cinnamon mixture, until well blended.
- Pour the egg mixture over the bread and press down on the bread to help it soak up the mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon sugar and cinnamon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve with warm maple syrup or strawberry topping.
- To make the strawberry topping, in a medium saucepan, toss 3 cups of the strawberries, the sugar and salt together. let sit, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries have released their juices and the sugar has dissolved, about 30 minutes.
- Add the remaining 3 cups of strawberries and cook over medium heat until the juice has thickened into a sauce, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Let cool for 1 hour before serving.
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