I’m just going to say it for everybody. “Casserole” doesn’t sound appetizing. The word just has a bad connotation attached to it in the food world. You can blame things like Tuna casserole and other crazy concussions for that. However, I’m here to break that stigma. There are plenty of delicious casserole dishes out there. Lasanaga, baked ziti, and baked macaroni and cheese are great examples of amazing “casserole” dishes. Well, let me introduce one more to add to that list…French Toast Casserole. Yes, you read that right. French Toast Casserole. I love this dish so much! There’s no need to soak the bread overnight. There’s no need to stand over an oven and slave away flipping the bread at precisely the right moment. Nope, this dish allows you to put everything in one casserole dish, bake it off and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. This version of french toast casserole is called “berries and cream french toast casserole.” For good reason too. We have berries and cream cheese in the casserole. Then, we top it off with more berries and some whipped cream. Once you take a bite of your warm french toast, you’ll think you died and went to heaven. It will take you to another dimension. I’m tellin’ you.
I have a cheat that I can teach you. It’s called “healthy” desserts. See, my brothers always give me a hard time about having to eat certain desserts that I make for my posts all by myself. How do I mitigate their teasing? Well, I put fruit on my dessert. That dessert then technically becomes a “healthy” dessert at that point. So, they can’t say much and I feel less guilty. One of my favorites “healthy” desserts to eat is a tart. Some people are daunted at the thought of making tarts, but that’s something I’ve never understood. Tarts are very easy to make and man are they delectable. Normally, tarts are filled with pastry cream. However, I chose to fill this version with lemon curd filling and top it with blueberries and strawberries. Like I said….healthy! Lemon and berries just works. It’s a match made in heaven. And man oh man do the angels sing when I take a bite of this healthy dessert.
Brunch is by far my favorite meal. I love breakfast. I love lunch. So, of course, I’d love the combination. The foods typically served at brunch are awesome as well. Eggs, pancakes, waffles…what’s not to love. Another breakfast pastry that is typical brunch fare are scones. Admission, I’ve never had or made scones before. But, I figure, they’re flaky and flavorful, so why not try them out. They didn’t disappoint. The texture was fluffy and flaky, but crispy on the outside. Flavor was delicious with the vanilla maple glaze. It was so good and so worth the minimal effort.
Preheat your oven to 450°F. Combine the dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor.
Grate the cold unsalted butter into large chunks. Place the butter in the freezer on a plate for about five minutes.
Place the frozen butter into the food processor and pulse about 10 times. The mixture will appear very lumpy and the flour will still be very visible.
Pour this mixture into a bowl.
Zest in one lemon and pour in the cold buttermilk. Dab the berries dry and dump them in.
Gently begin to fold the dough until it becomes just moistened. Pour it out onto a lightly floured surface.
Begin to gently pat the dough into a circle. Use a bench scraper to cut in half twice to give you four wedges or triangles. Use the bench scraper to move the wedges onto a lightly greased baking sheet covered with parchment or a silicone mat.
Place all the wedges onto the baking sheet about 1″ or more apart. Combine the cinnamon and milk in a small bowl. Brush on the cinnamon mixture onto the top of each wedge.
Place the pan in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 400°F and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
Once out of the oven, move each scone to a wire rack. You can either dust them with confectioners sugar at that point or work on the glaze.
For my glaze, use a hand or stand mixer to combine the butter and cream cheese. Beat until fluffy for about 3-4 minutes. Add in the vanilla, salt, maple syrup, confectioners sugar and cinnamon-milk. Mix until combined. If too thick, add more milk. If too thin, add more sugar. Taste and adjust until it’s as sweet as you’d like. You can also use your favorite glaze ontop if you’d like.
Drizzle the scone with a spoon or with a pastry bag. Enjoy while warm!
Move to a warm plate and enjoy!
See how I do it:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/8 teaspoon salt
- zest from one lemon
- 6 tablespoons, frozen, grated unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/8 cup berries
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/8 cup confectioners sugar (may need more to thicken)
- 1/8 cup cinnamon milk mixture (may need more to loosen)
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Combine the dry ingredients and the grated frozen butter in the food processor. Pulse about ten times.
Pour out into a bowl. Zest in one lemon.
Pour in cold buttermilk.
Dab the berries dry with a paper towel before adding them to the dough mixture.
Gently fold in everything until just moistened.
Pour out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
Gently pat into a circle and cut into two halves so you get four wedges.
Use a bench scraper to move the wedges to a lightly greased baking sheet.
Combine the milk and cinnamon.
Use a pastry brush to brush on the cinnamon milk mixture ontop of the scones.
Place the pan in the oven and turn it down to 400°F. Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
Remove to a wire rack and glaze or dust with confectioners sugar.
For the glaze, just combine all the ingredients with a hand or stand mixer until it's a runny glaze consistency. Add more confectioners sugar or milk depending on taste or consistency.
Enjoy while warm!
Best when warm, the day they're baked. Store in a wrapped plastic container in the fridge or freeze. Re-heat in a microwave or oven.
As promised last week, I’m bringing you my ultimate trifle. A trifle is a dessert that consists of layers of cake, creams, sauces, fruit, etc. I love trifles because this is one of those dishes that really is mistake free and allows you to show your creativity. You can mix and match any combination of elements as long as this fit flavor wise.
Here, I’m making my ultimate trifle. It has fruit, sauce, whipped cream, chiffon cakes and a creme anglais. You can make it in an any container and keep it refrigerated for a few days. This trifle is so dang good.
To start out, you’ll need a bowl or container to make your trifle in. I’m just using a regular big bowl. You can really do this in any order, but here’s how I made mine. So, I started by cutting up both cakes and layering the chocolate cake first. I’m using chiffon cakes I had left over in the freezer, but you can use any cake you have on hand. Pound cakes will give you a little more substance. A little more of a bite, than a chiffon, since chiffon’s are so soft. After chopping up the cake, I break it into smaller pieces, breaking them up with my fingers and then gently patting it down.
Next, I put the blueberries and blackberries in the next layer. Just spread them.
Next, I poured my creme anglais over the berries. You can double the recipe to cover the berries a bit more.
Next, I cover that layer with some whipped cream.
Next, I cover that layer with the vanilla cake, breaking it up the same way I did the chocolate.
Then, I place my strawberry sauce and fresh strawberries on top of this layer.
After that, I place the last layer of whipped cream on top and that’s it!
Like I said. Trifles are very easy to make. They are also so delicious! Give it a try and get creative.
See how I do it:
- 1 8" vanilla cake
- 1 8" chocolate cake
- 2 cups creme Anglais
- 1 container blueberries
- 1 container blackberries
- 1 container strawberries
- 1 cup strawberry sauce
- 3 cups heavy cream
Make your creme anglais and strawberry sauce ahead of time
Make your whipped cream and set to the side until ready to use.
In your container or bowl, begin by layering one cake. Cut the cake into cubes and then break them up into smaller pieces into the bowl. Pat it down gently.
Place the blueberries and blackberries on top of that layer evenly.
Pour the creme anglais over the berry layer and spread evenly.
Cover with some whipped cream until covered.
Cut up the other cake and follow the same breaking up into smaller pieces procedure with this one and cover the whipped cream layer with the cake. Pat down gently.
Cover this layer with strawberry sauce and fresh sliced strawberries.
Cover with whipped cream for the final layer.
Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Refrigerate covered for about 3-4 days to store.
You can do this is in pretty much any order you'd like. If you want to swap out berries, sauces, cakes, you can! Lasts refrigerated for a few days.