Beatrice Ojakangas

Recipes from the Scandinavian Chef

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Location: Duluth, Minnesota, United States


Blueberry French Toast Casserole

Summer is a time when we are likely to have overnight guests and thinking of how to serve good and simple breakfasts can be a challenge. So, I thought, “How about breakfast casseroles?” The beauty of breakfast casseroles is that they can be assembled the night before and popped into the oven in the morning. Here are two from my new The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever book featuring fresh blueberries that come into the market about now (or that we will soon be picking in the wild).
Fresh Blueberry-stuffed French Toast Casserole (classic favorite)
Here’s another idea for breakfast or brunch. Assemble this casserole 12 to 24 hours ahead, or just before baking. For other flavors check the variations below.
Serves 4
4 large slices sourdough bread, crust removed and cubed
8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
2 cups fresh blueberries
6 large eggs
1 cup milk
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 375*F. Arrange half the bread cubes in an 8-inch square baking dish. Distribute the cream cheese cubes evenly over the top of the bread. Distribute the blueberries over the top.
2. Top with the remaining bread cubes.
3. Beat eggs, milk and cinnamon together and pour over. Bake for 35 minutes, uncovered. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Blueberry Maple French Toast
You definitely need to use fresh blueberries with this one! I made it again with frozen blueberries and in baking, the blueberry juice turned the French bread and custard a sickly shade of purple.
Serves 8
1 large (1 pound) loaf of French bread, crust removed
1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese
1 cup fresh blueberries
12 large eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
1. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes and spread half in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Cut the cream cheese into cubes and sprinkle over the bread. Sprinkle blueberries over evenly and top with second half of bread cubes.
2. Mix the eggs, milk and maple syrup and pour over the bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes covered, then uncover and bake 30 minutes longer until set. Slice and serve warm with warm blueberry sauce.
Blueberry Sauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
1cup blueberries
1. Combine sugar, water, cornstarch and butter in a 2-quart saucepan. Place over medium heat and boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
2. Stir in blueberries, reduce heat and simmer 8-10 minutes until blueberries burst.

Baked Pecan Stuffed French Toast
Great for a weekend with house guests as this casserole can be made a day in advance, covered, and refrigerated.
Serves 8
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 (1-pound) loaf French bread, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 cups (8 ounces) finely chopped ham
6 eggs, beaten
1 2/3 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
Maple syrup for serving
1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Combine brown sugar, butter and honey in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar melts (2 to 3 minutes). Pour into ungreased 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with pecans. Top with half of bread slices; sprinkle with ham.
2. Combine eggs, milk and vanilla in large bowl; beat until well mixed. Dip remaining bread slices in egg mixture on one side only. Place over ham, dipped-side down. Pour remaining egg mixture over bread slices.
3. Combine sugar and pumpkin pie spice in small bowl; sprinkle over top. Cover; refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
4. Bake, uncovered, for 50 to 55 minutes or until golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes. Cut into 8 servings; invert each onto serving plates. Serve with maple syrup.
*Substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves.

Baked Cinnamon Maple French Toast
Remember this simple dish when you have house guests. Put it together the night before and refrigerate it, covered.
Serves 8
1 loaf two day old French bread, cut into 1 inch thick slices
12 large eggs
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 quart whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
For serving:
Soft butter
Warmed maple syrup
1. Place the bread slices into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, maple syrup, whipping cream and vanilla together. Pour over the bread and let set for 1 hour. Turn slices, cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. In the morning, turn the bread once again and sprinkle with cinnamon.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve with soft butter and warmed maple syrup.


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