Impress your family at brunch with this easy vegan pumpkin French toast casserole. Prepare everything the night before, pop in the oven, and have your family wake up to the smell of warm French toast and caramel. This recipe is the perfect holiday breakfast or brunch dish or for any fall or winter weekend when you want to start your day off with a treat.
Pumpkin French Toast Casserole With Maple Whiskey Caramel [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the French Toast Casserole:
- 17.7 ounces sourdough bread (or gluten-free if necessary)
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 6 Deglet dates (more for a sweeter casserole)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon organic cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon all-spice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4-1/2 cup raisins
- Maple whiskey
- Walnuts or pecans, to taste
For the Maple Whiskey Caramel:
- 1 cup raw sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup soy or oat cream (optional but highly recommended)
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter or coconut oil (optional but highly recommended)
- 1 tablespoon maple whiskey or 1 tablespoon maple syrup and a tablespoon regular whiskey
To Make the French Toast Casserole:
- Add the raisins to a small bowl and add just enough maple whiskey to cover. Let sit for a while, ideally a good 2 hours.
- Lightly oil a 9x13-inch baking dish. Cut the bread into one-inch pieces and set aside.
- Add all the pumpkin batter ingredients plus the whiskey that the raisins soaked in to your food processor or blender. Once smooth, add a quarter to the baking dish. Top with a third of the bread. Repeat until all the batter and all the bread have been used. Make sure the bread is well coated. Distribute the raisins throughout the casserole. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least an hour or two).
- The next morning, remove from the refrigerator and top with nuts. Bake for about 30 minutes in an oven preheated at 350°F.
To Make the Maple Whiskey Caramel:
- On medium heat, simmer raw sugar with 1/4 cup water, swirling pan (not stirring) until it turns a deep amber color (about 15 minutes). Keep an eye on it to avoid burning.
- Turn off the heat and move aside. Slowly stir in the cream. Add butter and melt, if using.
- Add the whiskey and a pinch of salt and place back the burner, still turned off, for another minute, stirring constantly.
- Serve warm on the French toast. You can store the leftovers in an air-tight jar or bottle in the fridge.