For the baked french toast:
- 1 loaf gluten-free French bread (using this Better Batter recipe) or three store-bought baguettes, such as Schar brand - to total 1 lb/yielding 9-10 c bread cut into 1-inch cubes
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 c Better Batter Corn-Free Powdered Sugar
- 3 Tbl fresh lemon juice
- 3 tsp lemon zest, divided
- 2 c fresh blueberries
- 8 large eggs
- 1 3/4 c skim milk
- 1/4 c maple syrup
- 1 Tbl vanilla
- 1/8 tsp salt
For the lemon syrup:
- 1/2 c water
- 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 1/3 c fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tsp corn starch or 2 1/2 tsp arrow root powder
- 2 Tbl butter, at room temperature
- 2 Tbl heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
Prepare the pan.
Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Place the bread cubes in the bottom of the dish.
Make the lemon cream cheese.
In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and 1 tsp lemon zest until smooth. Be sure to scrape the bowl well to make sure everything is combined. Spoon this lemon cream cheese mixture onto the bread cubes and spread into a layer using a spatula or a spoon. Sprinkle the blueberries in a layer over the cream cheese mixture.
Make the custard.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and remaining 2 tsp lemon zest until well blended. Pour the custard evenly over the blueberries and bread cubes. Gently press down on the bread to everything is soaked in the egg custard. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 4 hours or bake immediately.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake 60-70 minutes or until the center is puffed and surface is golden brown. I bake my French toast with the foil on for the first 30 minutes, remove the foil for the second 30 minutes. For the last ten minutes if it is getting too brown then I loosely cover with foil to prevent the bread from burning.
Make the lemon syrup.
In a small pot or saucepan, whisk together the water, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and corn starch (or arrow root powder) until well blended. Bring the syrup mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes or until mixture has thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in butter, heavy cream, and vanilla until well blended. Set aside and allow to cool. Drizzle on top of the warm baked French toast.