This easy to assemble and delicious baked apple French toast recipe is a perfect breakfast casserole to feed a crowd. Make certain to use fresh, crisp apples (any favorite kind will do) and to put the dish together the night before so that the bread has plenty of time to absorb the flavors in the egg mixture. Serve with fresh whipped cream, maple syrup and a few more slices of apple on top.
Melt 1/4 of a cup of butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1 tbsp. of maple syrup and cook until a simple caramel sauce forms. Make sure the mixture is fully blended before pouring it into the bottom of the ungreased 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
Place the thinly sliced apples over the caramel mixture so that they cover the bottom of the dish. Lay the slices of French bread over the apples so that they are evenly covered.
Beat the eggs together with a fork until light and frothy. Add the vanilla and milk and stir until blended. Pour this mixture over the apples and bread in the baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Place brown sugar in a small bowl and use a knife to cut in butter, tablespoon by tablespoon, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the pecans and 2 tbsp. of maple syrup. This streusel topping can be stored overnight in the refrigerator in a covered container.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees when it is time to bake the French toast. Sprinkle the brown sugar, butter and pecan mixture over the top of everything before baking it in the oven on a cookie sheet for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to sit for at least ten minutes before cutting into servings.