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Baked Stuffed French Toast

Unsalted butter, room temperature for baking dish
1-14 inch loaf rustic bread, such as pugliese, cut into 8 slices
8 thin slices ham, plus more for topping
8 oz Gruyere, thinly sliced, plus more for topping
8 large eggs
2/3 cup whole milk
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pure maple syrup such as Noble

Butter bottom sides of a 9×13” baking dish. Make a deep slit in each bread slice to create a pocket. Stuff each with 1 slice of ham, then divide the cheese evenly among the slices. Whisk together eggs and milk in a bowl until combined, and season with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into prepared baking dish. Add bread slices in a single layer, gently pressing into egg mixture, and let soak for 15 minutes. Flip bread and gently press again into egg mixture. Let soak for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Top bread with remaining ham and cheese. Bake until egg mixture is set and cheese is melted, 20-25 minutes.

Turn oven to broil, with rack 4 to 6 inches from heat source. Broil until bread is toasted and golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Serve hot with maple syrup