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Egg Tuesday – Simple, make-ahead Easter brunch item with one of my favorite ingredients!

March 23, 2010

As the spokesperson for the Incredible Edible Egg and America’s Egg Farmers I blog about cooking eggs every Tuesday. This week I have Easter in mind. Like all holidays I love being with family and friends and having another excuse to cook and eat! With that said I like to make things that taste great but that don’t keep me in the kitchen thus taking me away from everyone the day of the holiday. The mini orange-maple French toast breakfast casseroles below are a perfect solution. They are the best of eggs, pancakes, French toast and bread pudding all in one. You can make them a day ahead and they taste even better as the custard soaks into the cubes of bread (this recipe is a great way to utilize rustic chunks of your favorite day old bread) and all of the flavors marry overnight!

I LOVE making and eating tiramisu because of the rich, creamy texture and unique flavor of mascarpone cream cheese. It has a mild sharpness and a silk-like richness somewhere between sour cream and cream cheese. In this dish it becomes the liaison that brings all the flavors together without being heavy. The orange peel (zest) and juice add an incredible freshness. All of this combined with the maple syrup gives your mouth a symphony of brunch favorites. The custard soaks into the cubes of bread to create a breakfast “bread pudding”. The eggs bring this dessert style favorite of mine to the brunch menu and make it a satisfying, nutritious meal. Enjoy your family, enjoy your food and take care! Happy Easter.

Feed the hungry by making a pledge (no cost) to eat good do good everyday.  America’s egg farmers are donating up to one million eggs to feed the hungry.

Eat Well, Enjoy life, Be happy



Prep Time:            20 minutes

Cook Time:            30 minutes

Makes:             4 servings

4 oz. mascarpone cheese OR cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup maple-flavored pancake syrup
1/2 tsp. freshly grated orange peel
3 cups bread cubes (1 inch) (about 4 slices)

1.  HEAT oven to 350°F.  WHISK cheese in medium bowl until smooth.  ADD eggs, 1 at a time, whisking after each addition until smooth.  STIR IN milk, orange juice, syrup and orange peel until smooth and blended.

2.  DIVIDE bread among four greased 10-ounce ramekins or custard cups.  SLOWLY POUR a generous 1/2 cup egg mixture over bread in each cup; press bread into egg mixture.  PLACE cups in baking pan.

3.  BAKE in center of 350°F oven until custards are puffed and knife inserted near centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes.


  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with extra pancake syrup.
  • Mascarpone cheese is a rich thick creamy cheese from northern Italy, commonly use to make tiramisu.
  • Make ahead: Casseroles can be assembled the night before and refrigerated, covered.  Increase baking time slightly.
  • Great way to utilize a day old baguette or loaf of rustic bread.
  • Spice it up by adding a pinch of cinnamon, clove or nutmeg (or all three).

Nutrition information per serving: 345 calories; 20 g total fat; 9 g saturated fat; 1 g polyunsaturated fat; 2 g monounsaturated fat; 250 mg cholesterol; 283 mg sodium; 31 g carbohydrate; 1 g dietary fiber; 12 g protein; 742.5 IU Vitamin A; 35.0 IU Vitamin D; 58.5 mcg folate; 170.0 mg calcium; 2.2 mg iron; 137.6 mg choline.

This recipe is an excellent source of protein and choline, and a good source of Vitamin A, folate, calcium and iron.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Dawn permalink
    March 23, 2010 8:45 am

    This recipe looks absolutely delicious!!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      March 24, 2010 12:48 pm

      Thank you Dawn! Enjoy. Once you have made it and like it you can experiment. Try adding a couple tsp of 5 spice (one spice that you can buy already blended). It gives it a slightly spicy flavor with a great note of baking spices. Enjoy!

  2. Debi permalink
    March 23, 2010 11:03 am

    how would this turn out with ‘light’ ingredients? light cream cheese, milk, oj and syrup??

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      March 24, 2010 12:46 pm

      Helo Debi, Thanks for reading. You can substitute all light ingredients without a problem. Enjoy. Best, Jeffrey

  3. March 23, 2010 5:24 pm

    Hi! I’m wondering if you have a way to make this in an 9×13 pan? I’m attending a brunch with 3 other families, so it’s 8 adults and 8 kids under the age of 6…If there’s a way to do this on a larger scale, I’d love to make it for the brunch! I was looking for a good baked french toast recipe.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      March 24, 2010 12:45 pm

      Hello Sally! THanks for reading. Absolutely. Use the same recipe but spread it out in your 9×13 pan. You can leave the bread in whole slices and lay it in the pan or you can still break up the bread into chunks. Let me know if you need more explanation. You can make it the day before and cover it tightly and then just bake it for about 30-40 minutes in the morning. Stop baking it when the center is a touch “jiggly”. The residual heat as it cools will finish cooking it to perfection. Enjoy!!

  4. March 24, 2010 12:53 pm

    Great! I was hoping it was that easy 🙂 I’ll report back after Easter brunch…very excited!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      March 29, 2010 10:11 am

      sounds good sally, I look forward to hearing! Best, Jeffrey 🙂

  5. Kate Tunison permalink
    March 25, 2010 12:35 pm

    Jeffrey – I see you suggest “rustic chunks of your favorite bread.” We usually have 12 grain around and wondered if that would work?…or do you suggest more of a white bread or artisan bread?


    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      March 29, 2010 10:06 am

      Hello Kate, your 12-grain would be great. Enjoy!!! Best, Jeffrey

  6. JackBL permalink
    March 28, 2010 11:01 am

    Just found your website. Miss you on the Food Network. Are there any plans to get more work with them? Honestly, they could use some more variety, ie less cake shows and less Iron Chef, and more shows like what you could bring.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      March 29, 2010 10:04 am

      Hello JackBL, Thank you so much for reading and for your awesome support! I do have something coming up, keep an eye out! I will keep you posted via my blog. Thanks for reading. I hope all is well in your world and that you are eating something great! Best, Jeffrey 🙂

  7. marty jo permalink
    March 29, 2010 7:32 am

    Can you convert the cooking time if this were made in in a 8×8 pan? Would you suggest another pan size?

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      March 29, 2010 10:03 am

      Hello marty, I have not tested different pan sizes but the key is to cook until the center is firm but still slightly “wiggly” as the residual heat will finish cooking it after you take it out of the oven. I hope this helps! Enjoy and thank you much. Jeffrey 🙂

  8. Brenda permalink
    April 7, 2010 11:29 pm

    Hello! I have been looking for a make ahead brunch egg recipe for my daughter’s first baby shower and these look great! (Plus, it isn’t just the same ol’ egg/cheese/ham breakfast casserole!) I need to make enough to serve apprx. 15 guests. I’m wondering if I could bake these in regular muffin tins, rather than ramekins…smaller portions, but I don’t have enough ramekins for that many. If so, would they come out cleanly in order to transfer to a serving platter? Or perhaps I could bake them in foil baking cups in the muffin tins to allow them to stand alone after baking? Thanks for your help! Enjoy your recipes very much!! ~Brenda

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      April 11, 2010 11:16 am

      Hello Brenda, congrats on the baby shower! Yes, I think muffin pans will work just fine. I would butter or spray them well as the liquid content of the recipe will make them want to stick. I think you would be better off making one big batch in a casserole dish to be safe? Enjoy and thanks for reading! Jeffrey 🙂

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