This brunch casserole can be prepared ahead of time, and baked off in the morning for an elegant breakfast or brunch dish to serve family and guests. When entertaining or for special Holiday breakfasts, this casserole is simply perfect cut into squares and served with a fresh fruit compote to round out your breakfast or brunch meal. Here's a bit of a twist...my family enjoys this casserole drizzled with sweet maple syrup just before eating. It's become an absolute must alongside this dish at our breakfast table I think the maple syrup gives this dish the sweet and salty combination of flavor that makes it so appealing!
Ingredients you'll need:
1 16 oz french bread loaf
1 lb fully cooked ham, cubed
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss or white cheddar cheese, divided
For the custard:
6 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 cup low fat half & half
1-2 Tbsp chopped chives
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup [plus add'l for serving]
4 Tbsp butter, softened
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Slice the french bread into 3/4 inch slices and lightly butter each piece on one side. Cut each slice through the middle then into bite size cubes.
Layer half of the buttered bread cubes in the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange the cubed ham over the bread.
Next sprinkle 1 cup of shredded Swiss cheese over the cubed ham layer, and arrange the top layer of buttered bread cubes over the cheese.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups of whole milk, 1 cup of low fat half & half, 6 large eggs, 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp onion powder and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Add 1-2 tablespoons of chopped chives.
Pour the custard evenly over the layers of bread cubes, ham and cheese.
Using a spoon, gently press the bread cubes into the custard, then cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place the dish into the refrigerator to chill overnight to allow the bread to soak in all of the luscious custard.
To prepare: Uncover and discard the plastic wrap. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top, and dot the top with small, thin pats of butter.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden and the custard has set and cooked through. Allow the casserole to sit on the counter for 5 minutes before cutting into squares and serving. Serve drizzled with pure maple syrup. Yield: 12 servings