Cherry-Berry Stuffed French Toast Casserole
1 - 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Candied Ginger Cinnamon Spice (or regular cinnamon)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon corn syrup
12 brioche bread slices
2 cups assorted fresh or frozen berries and cherries (strawberries, sweet cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries). You could even use pie filling in this recipe, use what you have.
Use any combination of berries and cherries that are in season (strawberries should be hulled and halved; cherries should be pitted and halved before using).
Pure maple syrup, for garnish
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350º-F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and salt.
In a small saucepan, heat all topping ingredients together over medium heat until butter is melted and everything is well-incorporated.
Add 6 slices of brioche bread to cover the bottom of the baking dish, then evenly spread the filling over the bread slices. Add 1 cup of the fruit, then add the remaining 6 slices of bread. Pour the egg mixture over the entire dish. Make sure the egg mixture gets evenly distributed; gently press down on all the bread slices with a spatula or clean hands.
Evenly pour topping over the egg-soaked bread and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until done. Let set up for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.
Garnish with remaining fresh fruit, berries, maple syrup and mint leaves.