Baked Pumpkin French Toast with Cinnamon-Pecan Streusel

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All this talk about our fall-themed elopement has me in a permanent fall-like state of mind, which is why today I am bringing you this over-the-top baked french toast that has FALL written all over it. You guys, this is fall on a plate and it knocked our socks off. This is a dish that makes you go mmmm…the entire time you’re stuffing your face with it.

Really, there are no words, so let’s stop here, okay? Just make this, stuff your face, and then stuff your face again. That’s what we did—this was dinner, yes DINNER, 3 nights in a row. That’s what I’m talking about. My kind of food.

Okay, I take it back. There are words.

This baked pumpkin french toast is made with sweet challah bread and packed with pumpkin and lots of pumpkin spice. Pumpkin all over the place! I used almond milk, but feel free to use whatever milk you’d normally use. I’ve just recently made the switch to almond milk, so that’s just what we had on hand.

The streusel. Can we talk about the streusel for a minute? I’ve made streusel before, but I wasn’t really impressed—probably because I didn’t make it right—so I was hesitant to use it this time around. BUT, I’m so glad I did because it’s the star of this french toast. The streusel is packed to the max with pecans, warm-your-soul cinnamon, and of course, brown sugar and butter. Yum, yum, and more yum!

Oh, and we topped all this goodness with still-warm-from-the-pot homemade cinnamon syrup. Say what?! That’s right—we went all out. We’re not sorry, and you won’t be either. Promise. And? I think your family will love you forever if you make this for them. It’d make a perfect Thanksgiving breakfast! Definitely thinking about making it for my family to enjoy on Thanksgiving morning, along with a cup of pumpkin spice coffee. Too much pumpkin? I didn’t think so.

When I know I’m about to eat something incredible, I close my eyes and eat that first bite in complete silence while savoring every bit of it. When Steve goes to talk, I say shhhh, there are no words for this right now. This dish is THAT good, I tell you. The challah bread is deliciously sweet, the pumpkin and pumpkin spice are a burst of fall in your mouth, and the pecan streusel, well it’s just the icing on the cake. Nutty, cinnamon-y, sweet, and buttery. All the things you need in your life.

What’s lovely about this dish is that you make it the day before you intend to bake it and let it sit in the fridge overnight or for at least 8 hours. The next day, throw together the streusel, spread it over the french toast, and bake it. Simple and quick!

Make it, eat it, enjoy it, and then do it again!

Baked Pumpkin French Toast with Cinnamon-Pecan Streusel

Yields 6-8 servings


For the french toast (make the night before)

  • non-stick spray
  • 1 loaf challah bread—cut or torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cups of milk (I used 2 cups sweetened almond milk and 1 cup unsweetened)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice

For the streusel (make before baking)

  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1½ cups pecans—chopped
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter—melted

For the cinnamon syrup

  • 1/3 cup water
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon


For the french toast

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray, and evenly spread the bread cubes in the baking dish. Set aside.

To a large bowl, add the milk, eggs, vanilla extract, pumpkin, both sugars, and the pumpkin pie spice, and whisk until well combined.

Evenly pour the milk mixture over the challah bread in the baking dish. I use a 1-cup measuring cup to pour the mixture on a little at a time to ensure it is evenly disbursed.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

For the cinnamon-pecan streusel

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the french toast from the fridge, remove plastic wrap, and let it sit on the counter while the oven heats up.

In the meantime, to a medium-sized bowl, add the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon and whisk to combine. Stir in the chopped pecans. Pour in the melted butter, and using a metal spoon, or your fingers, gently mix until the butter is completely incorporated. The entire mixture should be moistened with the butter (read: no dry spots).

Evenly distribute the streusel overtop of the entire dish of french toast. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until baked through. Feel free to cover the dish with foil for the first portion of the baking time to prevent burning the pecans (I didn’t need to do this). Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes, or until set.

For the cinnamon syrup

Heat the water in a small pot set over medium heat. Once boiling, add the brown sugar and cinnamon, and quickly whisk until the sugar is dissolved, about 30 seconds (do not stop whisking!). Immediately remove from heat and set aside.

Grab a big slice, smother it with syrup, and dig in!


Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

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