3cupscinnamon raisin breadcubed, good quality bread is highly recommended
½cupmilk/creamI use a mix of milk and cream
4ozcream cheesecubed, half a brick
Preheat the oven to 350F (177C) if making right away. Place the oven rack in the center of the oven.
Slice the bread into slices (if not already sliced) and then cut the slices into approx. 1-inch cubes. You can also tear the bread apart with your hands. Keep the crusts on.Cut 4 oz. of cream cheese (half a brick) into small (approx. 1 cm) cubes.
Lightly grease a standard loaf pan (8-½ x 4-½ x 2-½ inches) with butter. If you use a different size pan, cooking times will need to be adjusted. Add the cubed bread to the baking dish.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together. Add the milk/cream, maple syrup, and cinnamon and mix well. Add the cream cheese and mix well. This is your custard mixture.Pour the custard evenly over all the bread chunks. You can use your hands to make sure all the pieces of cinnamon raisin bread get coated with the custard mixture.
Now the French casserole can be baked right away (uncovered), or you can cover it and refrigerate it overnight.****
Bake the casserole for about 35 minutes — until the casserole looks "set" and golden brown on top**. Leave the casserole in the oven longer if you want the chunks of bread on the top to be crispier and browner. ***
Remove the casserole from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!
*You can transfer the custard mixture into a measuring glass before pouring it on the bread if that's easier. **Ensure it's cooked until it's not soggy in the middle. ***If you're using a bigger pan, it will likely cook faster, so keep an eye on the casserole so it doesn't burn. ****If you make this the night before, I recommend letting it sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before baking. This just helps ensure even cooking. You may still need to cook it a bit longer than if you make it right away. This makes two very generous servings.