Every year, our family decorates for fall the night before school starts.
Fall leaves, rustic orange candles and mini wool pumpkins adorn my mantel.
Candy dishes are filled to the rim for guests. Yes, honest, it’s for my guests. That is, unless I happen upon my favorites first.
Fall is good for the soul and this includes the cozy comfort foods that come with it. This dish is no exception. Overnight Caramel Apple French Toast is perfect for guests. Most of it can be prepared the night before and baked in the morning. The cinnamon-y apple aroma will wake everyone up for you.
FOR THE APPLE PIE FILLING:
5 honeycrisp apples
2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Peel and cut apples into small squares, keeping pieces similar sized. Coat apples with lemon juice. Set aside. In blender, blend together water and cornstarch.
Place apples, cornstarch mixture and remaining ingredients in a sauce pan. Stir continually over medium high heat about 15-20 minutes or until thickened and apples are soft on the outside. Cool and then refrigerate overnight.
FOR THE FRENCH TOAST
One large loaf of French bread cut into one inch slices (makes about 10 slices)
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup brown sugar
8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
Set out a baking pan large enough to hold all ten slices of bread. Place eggs, cream, brown sugar, cream cheese, cinnamon, melted butter and salt into blender. Blend well. Lay bread slices in baking pan/s.
Pour blended topping over the bread, being sure that each is covered well.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
FOR THE STREUSEL:
1 stick cold butter cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup of uncooked oatmeal
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pecans
Pulse in small amounts in food processor, watching texture to be sure it clumps only in pea-sized bits or a little larger. If you place food processor on low, the streusel will become a ball of dough so be sure to watch it closely. Place in a container and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, preheat oven to 350F. Remove French toast from refrigerator and place on a buttered baking sheet.
Top with apple filling and then streusel. Bake for about 45 minutes. While French toast is baking, make caramel sauce.
FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Melt butter on medium-low heat, watching closely so it does not burn. After melting butter, add sugar. Stir and let simmer on medium heat until it looks foamy. Carefully stir in cream as it will splatter. After starts to boil again, stir in salt and vanilla. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to serve.
Remove French toast from oven.
Place on plates and serve topped with caramel sauce. If desired, sprinkle with chopped pecans, a dollop of whipped cream and a sprig of fresh mint. Happy taste buds and happy soul.