How about Brunch this week, maybe over the weekend or for dinner? You just can’t go wrong with this Upside Down Caramel Apple French Toast, adapted originally from Tyler Florence. It’s a decadent and rich French Toast and full of caramelly apples punctuated by a few dried cranberries and a handful of pecans for a little crunch.
There’s a little bit of a secret to this dish. It’s is really pretty simple to make, and probably much easier than making regular old French toast by the piece or two on a skillet or a griddle!. And of course, it’s a show stopper of a brunch dish & an elegant treat. Your family will think you’ve really gone overboard when all you’ve done is throw down a few pantry ingredients along with a little soaked day-old bread in a skillet. Shhhh…I won’t tell if you don’t!
About Upside Down Caramel Apple French Toast:
Apple Upside Down French Toast has some serious goodness going on. If you’ve ever had that French Dessert, Tarte Tatin (I should make a version for my site here) this is like the breakfast version. As a matter of fact, this is about as close as I usually get to dessert for breakfast. This breakfast has a layer of caramelly apples topped by French toast, then it’s baked so that French toast is just gorgeous. Once finished the whole works are flipped over onto a platter. That’s some serious a.m. drama!
It’s best to flip onto some type of platter that has a lip or edge of some sort because once flipped, you’ll see there’s going to be some caramelly syrup kind of oozing down from those gorgeous apples. I’m usually not a big flipper kind of a person, especially first thing in the morning, but this was so worth it. I’d recommend a lighter oven-safe skillet if you have one. A cast iron can be a bit heavy for flipping! As far as that oozing, sometimes this will be oozier and other times not as much; it just depends on your apples and how much juice they give off.
The original recipe said 4 to 6 servings. Don’t count on those six servings, unless maybe you’re serving lots of other things, like bacon and/or sausage and eggs and so on. And don’t count on 6 servings if my parents are eating with you, lol! My favorite octogenarians inhaled this, stopping only to give compliments and make little happy noises. They started eating and just kept on eating until there wasn’t a scrap left.
Making Upside Down Caramel Apple French Toast:
The first time I made the Upside Down French Toast, I left the apples in halves as Tyler Florence did. Frankly, it was hard to divide and cut, difficult to serve and awkward to eat and the apples themselves were kind of boring; all the caramelly juices were being sucked up by the French Toast. After that, I just sliced the apples and tried to arrange them so they’d look nice when the dish was flipped.
I don’t use Challah, either. For one thing, I’d have to search it out at a baker, and for another, it’s pricey. Once the dish is flipped, the bread on top doesn’t show, so just use a good hearty bread and make sure it’s an inch thick, not just your standard sliced white bread for sandwiches. I’ve used an Italian loaf before and the Texas toast slices you can get at some grocery store bakeries.
As far as the fruit, you don’t need to use just apples and cranberries. Apples and raisins would be good, and so would just plain apples. And I can’t wait to try this recipe using pears. Same with the nuts. Tyler called for pecans, but it won’t affect the recipe to change them up or leave them out altogether. Just do whatever suits your taste and your family.
Saving Money on Upside Down French Toast:
Baking is a great way to use up any apples that might be languishing on your counter and the best part is they don’t have to be in perfect condition to do so. If there’s a little wrinkling, they’re peeled for recipes. A soft brown spot or two can be cut out before the apple is peeled and sliced. Fyi, if the apple happens to be a little dry, well it won’t do this recipe any harm at all. All that being said, beautiful fresh apples are great too, of course! Watch for apples on sale, as different varieties will rotate in and out of sale in the fall. There will almost always be a big drop in price in January to February, too, as apples come out of cold storage.
I’ve just pretty much stopped buying brown sugar. I mix up my own using molasses and granulated sugar. See my post on Homemade Brown Sugar for more information. It’s super easy to make your own and so much cheaper! All you need is a little molasses which isn’t pricey and keeps forever in your pantry. Make sure to clean the top of the molasses container well or you’ll never get it open again. Any other baking goods I watch for on sale, especially around any holidays. Check for great prices on milk, butter, and eggs at Aldi or your Buyer’s club.
Stock up on dried fruits and nuts for the year during the sales prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Store them in your freezer, preferably your deep freeze set at or below zero degrees. It’s usually when I see a great price on something like bakery bread that prompts me to make any heavy on the specialty bread recipe like this French Toast or Bread Pudding. This is a great recipe to use up something of what you might have on hand, too, especially as the bread doesn’t show once the dish is flipped. Aim for an even layer of bread, though.Print
Upside Down Caramel Apple French Toast
A fabulous presentation!
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x
- Category: Breakfast or Brunch
- Cuisine: American
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 loaf challah bread, cut into 1 inch-thick slices (I used Italian)
- 1/2 stick butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling, divided
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 3–4 Granny Smith apples
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a flat dish (a 9×11″ works well), crack eggs and add milk, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Whisk until well combined then lay bread slices in mixture to coat and absorb it all, turning occasionally.
Set a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, seasoned cast iron if you have, over medium heat. Add the butter and 1 cup sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar has melted and caramelized about 5 minutes, then remove from heat and gently whisk in the cream.
While the sugar is melting, peel apples, then use an apple corer to make your slices.
Gently press in the apple, fanning them in concentric circles. Sprinkle with cranberries and pecans. Lay soaked slices of bread over the top so it is completely covered – you should be able to arrange the large slices and small slices so there are no gaps.
Sprinkle the top with some brown sugar and place into the preheated oven. Bake in the middle of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and puffy. When done, allow to cool for two to three minutes, run a knife around the edges of the pan, then invert on a large plate.
- If your cast iron skillet is not seasoned, the cranberries will react with the skillet and turn black.
- Use care in turning over; hot caramel may drip or squirt out.
- Results may vary depending on how juicy the apples are.
Keywords: Apple, Bargain Meal of the Week, Breakfast or Brunch Dish, Dried Fruit, Eggs, leftover bread, Leftovers, milk, Nuts and Seeds, Tyler Florence