Breakfast in a Pan

Weekends often have at-odds goals fighting it out in my kitchen. On the one hand, I relish luxurious, hearty breakfasts on the weekend. This weekday yogurt, fruit, and granola girl wants something a bit more decadent when Saturday and Sunday roll around. On the other hand, the last thing I usually want to do after rolling out of bed and finding my slippers is spending the rest of my morning in the kitchen making that special meal a reality. That's why I really love make-ahead meals for weekend brunches:

Unlike a great many of these types of dishes, this one's a sweet version that's studded with tender baked pieces of apple and a topping that's loaded with nutty almond meal. For me, it feels like a blend of French toast and coffee cake. I tend to save those single leftover burger or brat buns, the heels of loaves of bread, and even an odd donut or pastry in the freezer for meals just like this. I once made a baked casserole like this with torn day-old croissants from the discount bakery bin and it was life-changing. Pick what makes you happy or just what you happen to have on hand. It will be great. Also, while I call for Penzeys apple pie spice, you can opt instead to just use more ground cinnamon. I happen to stock the apple pie spice and love it in applications like this.

For me, a cup of coffee, some fresh fruit, and a drizzle of maple syrup is all this dish needs to be ready for serving. Given how lovely citrus is this time of the year, some sliced oranges or even grapefruit do a lovely job of adding a bit of sweetness and tanginess to the table. And all of this can be on your table with minimal effort from you once the morning begins!

Nutty Apple Breakfast Bake

  • Cooking spray
  • 6 c. assorted bread and/or pastry, torn into pieces
  • 2-3 apples, cored and chopped
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 c. half & half
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. almond meal
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. apple pie spice
  • 3 T. butter, at room temperature

Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange the bread and/or pastry pieces in the pan to make an even layer on the bottom. Sprinkle the top of the bread layer with the chopped apples.

Combine the eggs, half & half, and the ground cinnamon in a large resealable jar. Seal the jar and shake vigorously to combine the ingredients into a thick, homogenous mixture. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top of the bread and apples in the baking pan. (At this point, the baking dish can be covered and refrigerated overnight if desired.)

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

In a medium bowl, combine the almond meal, brown sugar, and apple pie spice; whisk to combine. Using clean fingers, pinch the butter into the almond meal mixture until coarse crumbs appear. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the baking pan.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 20 minutes before slicing into squares and serving with fresh fruit and maple syrup.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

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