Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Apricot French Toast Casserole - gluten free dairy free

It is the time of year when fresh peaches and apricots are available at our local markets.  A baking session called to me as I looked at the apricots on the counter.
This recipe is an adaptation from the book, Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking, by Kelli and Peter Bronski. This is the book I recommend the most to those who are new to a gluten free diet, and I find that the recipes work beautifully when dairy items are subbed for non dairy options. I highly recommend many recipes in this book, such as the Crepes, the Cole Slaw, Potato Salad, and more. Grab a copy, you'll love playing with the variety of flavors presented.
Ok, now, on to the good stuff!
We start by cubing approximately 4 cups of gluten free bread.  I recommend using a bread that is high in fiber and protein, and low in sugars.  If you are buying pre made products, look at French Meadow Bakery, Canyon Bakhouse and others for their highest fiber option.  When you make your own bread, you have many great mixes available to boost fiber and protein.  Some options are Bobs Red Mill, Zeema's, Julian, Breads From Anna and more.  Again, look for options with high fiber and protein and low sugar.
  • Preheat oven to 375
  • 4 cups cubed gluten free bread
  • pour 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or earth balance butter over, and toss to coat
In a second bowl, whisk the following:
  • 2 whole eggs, or 2 tablespoons milled flaxseed mixed with 6 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk (or other dairy free milk of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon erythritol crystals, lakanto, or 1-2 dates chopped 
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon GF vanilla extract
Once these are whisked, pour over the cubed bread and mix together, breaking the bread chunks up a bit in the process.  Next, line your baking dish, a ceramic or thick bottom baking dish works nicely, with light amount of coconut oil. Add the following to the baking dish:
  • 3 organic apricots, quartered and pitted (or 3 small organic peaches)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled walnuts
Pour the bread mixture over top and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.  Let cool 15 minutes before cutting.
Serve with additional topping of flax or chia seeds (1/2-1 Tablespoon) and optional additional fruit compote to add a sweet topping to this delightful breakfast treat.

Here we have taken a bread pudding style french toast comfort food, and enhanced it with macro and micro nutrients from nuts, seeds, fruits, and gluten free whole grain. I would consider trying this with a nut flour or coconut flour based bread to play with ratios of starch to protein.  Mixes like Zeema's cocoa pancake mix utilize high fiber and high protein sources for the quality ingredient listing.  I think a left over batch of waffles or pancakes would work nicely in this recipe with cherries and apples, as well.

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