Caramelized Apple & Sausage French Toast
by Diane Phillips, Cooking Teacher & Author, San Diego, California
When guests cut into the sweet apples in this breakfast casserole, they will find a savory surprise of Smart Chicken breakfast sausage bites. If you’d like to substitute firm pears for the apples, you will need the same amount and should substitute pear nectar for the cider. For an awesome presentation, the casserole is turned upside down so the juicy, caramelized apples are on the top.
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 4 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and sliced ½-inch thick
- 8 cups torn egg bread, or good-quality white bread
- 1 (12-ounce) package fully cooked Smart Chicken breakfast sausage, cut into ½-inch rounds
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup apple cider
Coat the inside of two 9-inch round pie pans, 2½ inches deep, or a 13- by 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a skillet, melt the butter and both sugars until they become liquid.
Pour into the prepared pan(s), and tilt to cover the bottom evenly. Arrange the apples over the brown sugar mixture—if you are using pie plates, you can make concentric circles for a pleasing effect.
Put the bread and sausage into a large bowl. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the eggs, cream, milk, and cider. Pour over the bread and sausage, and mix well. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pans, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the casserole dishes from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Place the baking dishes on a sheet tray lined with aluminum foil, silicone baking liners, or parchment paper to catch any drips. Bake the casseroles for 40 to 50 minutes, until the casserole is bubbling and golden brown. Let rest for 5 minutes. Run a knife along the sides of the casserole to loosen from the dish and then turn out onto serving platters that are 2-inches larger than the baking dishes.