This fabulous pumpkin French toast bake is my welcoming nod to the first week of fall. Color-changing leaves, fresh morning breezes and squirrels hopping from tree to tree gathering acorns all signal cooler weather to come. In the kitchen it’s time to switch gears to cozy breakfast offerings that gently warm up the body and soul. If you love pumpkin pie, muffins with streusel topping and French toast, then you will absolutely love this yummy pumpkin French toast bake. It’s a delicious combination of the texture and flavors of those seasonal favorites all rolled into one gorgeous dish that tastes just as good as it looks.
To make this beautiful pumpkin French toast bake, these are the ingredients you’ll need for the custard: one 2-pound loaf of French bread or sourdough bread (preferably a day-old loaf), heavy whipping cream, milk, granulated sugar, light-brown sugar, eggs, 100% pure pumpkin puree from a can (NOT pumpkin pie mix), pure Mexican vanilla (or vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, pinch of sea salt, chopped pecans. For the streusel topping you’ll need: a cube of salted butter, all-purpose flour, pinch of sea salt, light-brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, chopped pecans, and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Start by generously greasing the bottom and sides of a 9 X 12 baking dish. Cut the French bread into large cubes. Place the bread inside the baking dish. In a large mixing bowl prepare the custard. Add in the heavy whipping cream, milk, granulated sugar, light-brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until all ingredients are well blended and the mixture is nice and smooth.
Pour the custard over the pieces of French bread. With a spatula, gently fold in the custard so that every piece of bread is fully coated with the mixture. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate the pumpkin French toast bake for 3-4 hours or overnight. The more time the bread has to soak in the mixture the more scrumptious and flavorful this dish will be.
Once you pull the French toast bake out of the refrigerator, with a spatula fold in 1/2 cup chopped pecans. If you don’t care for pecans, you can also use walnuts or no nuts at all. This is also a great opportunity to make sure there is no residual custard mixture just sitting at the bottom of the baking dish. If there is, fold it into the bread so that all of the custard is fully absorbed.
Now it’s time to prepare the streusel topping. In a small saucepan melt one cube of butter. Add in the flour, salt, light-brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and another 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix until all of the ingredients are well blended. Immediately spread the streusel mixture on top of the pumpkin French toast bake.
Rather than evening out the pieces of bread so they lay in one even layer, I like to give this dish some beautiful texture. Using a spatula I make the French toast bake look somewhat choppy by giving it definite peaks and valleys all over. It provides more visual interest and excitement than having it just lying there looking flat! Place the pumpkin French Toast bake in a 350 degree oven. Let it bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
This is how your pumpkin French toast bake will look right when it comes straight out of the oven. Ahhhhh…The beautiful and fragrant pumpkin spice scent coming from this dish will make you smile!
Generously sprinkle the top of your pumpkin French toast bake with powdered sugar. Serve with softened butter or margarine, and delightfully warm maple syrup. Pumpkin French toast bake is ideal for Sunday brunch, for Thanksgiving morning and Christmas breakfast. Depending on your family’s appetite, this recipe yields 6-9 satisfying servings.
Pumpkin French Toast Bake > Shop This Post
During the fall season I love using my green Emile Henry baking dish. When serving pumpkin French toast bake in this rectangular dish, it makes the sunshiny yellow/orange colors of this recipe just pop! Do you have a special baking dish that you like to use during autumn to make and serve brunch casseroles?
Pumpkin French Toast Bake
Yield 6-9 servings
FRENCH TOAST / CUSTARD FILLING - INGREDIENTS
- 1 two-pound loaf of French bread or sourdough bread, cubed*
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 + 1/2 cups milk
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light-brown sugar, gently packed
- 7 large eggs
- 1 cup 100% pure pumpkin puree (from a can), NOT pumpkin pie mix!
- 2 + 1/2 tablespoons pure Mexican vanilla (or vanilla extract)
- 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) salted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup light-brown sugar, gently packed
- 1 + 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Powdered sugar
- Butter and maple syrup
DIRECTIONS FOR FRENCH TOAST / CUSTARD
- Generously butter a 9X12 baking dish.
- In an even layer, arrange the cubed French bread in the prepared baking dish.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the heavy cream, milk, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Mix until all ingredients are well well blended.
- Pour the custard directly over the French bread pieces. With a spatula, gently fold the mixture into the French bread making sure all of the pieces are fully coated. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate your Pumpkin French Toast Bake for 3-4 hours, or overnight.
DIRECTIONS FOR STREUSEL TOPPING
IMPORTANT: Wait to prepare the streusel topping until just before you're ready to put your Pumpkin French Toast Bake into the oven.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small pan on your stovetop, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, add in the flour, light-brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, ground cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Mix the ingredients together. Set the streusel aside.
- When you pull the Pumpkin French Toast Bake out of the refrigerator (after it has rested for 3-4 hours), sprinkle 1/2 cup of chopped pecans directly on top of the Pumpkin French Toast Bake. With a spatula, gently fold the pecans into the custard/bread mixture. At the same time, if there happens to be any unabsorbed custard just sitting on the bottom of the baking dish, mix it in to the bread. Don't flatten the bread mixture with your spatula, instead allow it to have peaks and valleys - this will give your dish a beautiful textured look.
- Evenly sprinkle the streusel on top of the Pumpkin French Toast Bake. Tent your baking dish with foil. (Leave the foil on for the first 25-30 minutes of baking time to protect the streusel from getting scorched.) Place the baking dish into the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the middle is no longer wet but just gently moist.
- Garnish with powdered sugar. Serve with butter and maple syrup. Enjoy!
*Day-old French bread or sourdough bread is preferred because it will have a stiffer texture than fresh bread, which is perfect for absorbing the custard mixture.
Courses Breakfast, Brunch
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Pumpkin French Toast Bake > Your Thoughts
Have you ever made a pumpkin French toast bake before? What do you think about this seasonal recipe? Do you have a favorite breakfast casserole that you enjoy serving for Sunday brunch or for special occasions? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!