Make Ahead

Caramelized Pear French Toast Bake

October 27, 2012
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

Caramelized Pear and Hazelnut French Toast that's baked instead of fried and can be made ahead. A decadent fall brunch perfect for the holidays! —feastingathome

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Caramelized Pear French Toast Bake
  • 7 cups bread (French loaf, baguette, or sour dough loaf) cut into 1/2-inch bite-sized slices
  • 3 Bosc pears, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 cup toasted and crushed hazelnuts
  • 7 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Split the vanilla bean, scrape out seeds, and place the seeds and pod into to a small sauce pan with the half-and-half. Warm gently until it almost comes to a simmer, stir, then turn off the heat and let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Slice the pears. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet and sauté the pears on medium heat until lightly golden (about 10 to12 minutes). Add 1 tablespoon maple syrup and simmer a few more minutes until nicely caramelized. Set aside.
  3. Cut the bread in to 1/2-inch slices. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, salt, spices, orange zest, and another 3 tablespoons maple syrup. When the half-and-half has cooled, remove the vanilla pod and add the milk a little at a time to the egg mixture, mixing until combined. (Do NOT add hot cream to the egg mixture or else the eggs will curdle. Either let the cream cool or temper the eggs by adding just a little warm cream at a time, mixing in between each addition.)
  4. Heat the oven to 350° F and generously butter a baking dish. Layer the bread, hazelnuts, and caramelized pears in the dish and pour all of the buttery syrup from the pan evenly over the bread. Pour the batter over everything, using a spatula to ensure that it goes in all the cracks crevasses. Let sit at least 30 minutes so the bread can soak up the batter, or refrigerate overnight. Right before placing it in the oven, drizzle the top with 1 more tablespoon maple syrup and sprinkle with a pinch of cardamon. Bake 45 to 50 minutes until puffed and golden. If your layers measure higher than two inches, you may need to bake longer. Check the middle to see if all the liquid is cooked. I have found that when it puffs up, it's usually done. Melt small dots butter over the top and serve with warm maple syrup.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Tara Victoria Nicholson
    Tara Victoria Nicholson
  • sexyLAMBCHOPx
  • Jacklyn Salama Lahav
    Jacklyn Salama Lahav
  • feastingathome

4 Reviews

Tara V. February 18, 2015
Hi, I have a question. Do you think it would be ok to make this a couple days ahead and freeze it (unbaked)? Then thaw and bake? It looks delicious! I cook for a frat house and I think my boys would love this for Sunday brunch...
Jacklyn S. April 26, 2018
Following! Did you try to freeze it ahead?
sexyLAMBCHOPx October 27, 2012
Looks lovely!
feastingathome October 27, 2012
well...thank you!