Christmas Day Breakfast: Pear Vanilla French Toast Casserole!

I was looking forward to my sisters coming over for brunch this past weekend … to celebrate Christmas, sisterhood, and to reminisce about our Mom.

When our mom passed away, the 3 of us told each other that we’d always remember her at Christmastime by giving to each other, in “Millie-style.” That may sound odd, but our Mom Millie knew exactly “how” to buy gifts for us girls. She knew us well–what we liked, what would make us happy–and she always gave us the perfect gifts.

I want to share with you what I served for breakfast/brunch because not only is this recipe TO DIE FOR, it’s easy and you prepare it the night before.

Which was good for me, because little did I know I’d not be falling into a deep sleep until 4 AM. Our daughter had had oral surgery that day, and needed care throughout the night. My husband gently woke me up at almost 9 AM and all I could think of was, My sisters are coming, my sisters are coming!

Sisters are easy. They don’t look too carefully at the dishes in the sink, the unvacuumed floor, or the clutter-y piles around the house (Christmas cards, wrapping paper, … stuff everywhere). Sisters are also easy because they, just like my Mom, know exactly what kind of gifts to give. I am blessed by my wonderful sisters!

The point of my story today is this: Make life simpler on Christmas morning by making my Pear Vanilla French Toast Casserole.

You make it up the night before, so no matter how late you sleep in, all you have to do is pop it in the oven.

(This recipe is taken from my new book, The Reluctant Entertainer, page 153.)

Baked Pear Vanilla French Toast
Serves 6-8

1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 T. water
3 fresh pears or 28 oz. canned pears, drained and sliced
4 cups French bread, cut into small pieces (better to not use the crust)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
9 eggs
2 cups milk or cream
2 tsp. vanilla
powdered sugar or maple syrup (optional)

Melt the brown sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the water and continue heating until bubbly. Remove from heat and pour into a well-greased 9×13 pan, making sure it is spread evenly.

Slice the pears and arrange evenly on top; of the brown sugar mixutre. Sprinkle the French bread pieces over th pears, then the chopped nuts.

Beat eggs, milk, vanilla together and pour evenly over the entire mixture. cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes, or until it becomes puffy and the eggs are no longer runny.

(Serve with powdered sugar or maple syrup – optional. I prefer to serve it plain, I think it’s sweet enough!)

I can guarantee that your family is going to LOVE you on Christmas Morn!

What are your plans for Christmas Morning breakfast this year?


  1. Perfect! Today was my day to finally decide on what I am making for Christmas morning…this sounds so good! Thanks! I ALWAYS make a special fruit salad on Christmas morning as well, that the kids look so forward too, as I only make it on special holidays.

  2. That looks fantastic! But I want to know what they got you! :)

  3. Looks wonderful! I’m definitely adding that to my “to make” list. I’m not sure what I’m going to do for Christmas this year. It will either be oatmeal or muffins. It needs to be something simple because we are going out after breakfast to hand out paper bag meals to homeless people in our city.

  4. You gals are so beautiful! I see your mom in all of you, though Diane shows her dad, too. Thanks for the recipe. I’m definitely going to try it out. I’m wondering if peaches would work, as my hubby and son prefer them. Worth a try. Merry Christmas, Sandy. =)

  5. Sandy, I love this post. What a gift you have in your sisters & what a wonderful time together you must’ve had. Thanks for sharing your breakfast recipe with us. It’s so different from the traditional breakfast casseroles & I’m anxious to try it. PS ~ I sure hope your daughter is feeling better and that you are all catching up on rest. Merry Christmas!

  6. I have to tell you, my grandmother’s name is Millie, my mom is a “Mildred” too but she goes by Mimi. It just warms my heart when I hear you mention your Mom. My Gram has alzheimers, so she no longer recognizes my mom or any of us for that matter, but she’s still here. She will be with us on Christmas, even though she doesn’t know it’s a special holiday, or who any of the people around the table are, I’m still holding on and cherishing every moment with her while she is here.

    Wishing you and your family the sweetest Christmas.

  7. I love that y’all made a pact to remember your Mom like that. I’ve got two sisters as well and yes, sisters know how to give the best gifts. I’m thankful that Mom is here with us and hope to not take that wonderful blessing for granted. The french toast looks divine. I will definitely have to make it soon!

  8. That looks delicious! I’m just making Pioneer Woman’s French Breakfast Puffs Christmas morning. They only take half an hour, & with all of the Christmas Eve craziness, which at our house includes frosting cookies for Santa, I like that there’s no night-before prep. But I’m definitely saving this recipe for the future!

  9. I’m making Cinnamon Rolls, which I do every year!!! Yummy!!! This sounds good too. While on vacation a friend made a baked caramel french toast that was amazing!

  10. Sounds wonderful! Am printing this so I can give it a try! Thank you!!

  11. Your breakfast puffs look too good to pass up, so found the recipe on line and am definitely going to make them sometime soon. Thank you for sharing and Merry Christmas.

  12. We’ll be having our annual Strawberry Waffles and Peach waffles (for hubby)!
    Love the recent pics I’ve seen of your beautiful family! Hugs! Merry Christmas!

  13. I SOOOOOO planned to make a French Toast casserole and an egg casserole on Christmas morning for breakfast but my dear son said NO YOU CAN”T….. he was so looking forward to regular french toast and all the fixings with it… eggs and bacon and sausage and hashbrowns…. grrrr

  14. What a sweet post, Sandy. And the recipe looks yummy. I live in NC and was in NY (my motherland) last week for an early Christmas with family. I spent some time with my sister, which is a rare treat. We lost our mother 4 years ago. You post touched my heart. :)

    We also had a Kris Kringle gift exchange and among my gifts was your wonderful book! signed!
    My daughter, Jacqueline, was my Kris Kringle and I’m so grateful she got it for me. It’ll be one I return to time and again. Wishing you, your loved ones, and all your wonderful readers, a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Healthy and Blessed 2011!

  15. My husband grew up eating Blueberry Buckle on Christmas morning so we now carry on that tradition with our family.

  16. Yum! We do a rich baked oatmeal recipe (prepared the night before) with cranberries and pecans. It is served with cream and maple syrup. It’s a good stick-to-your-ribs counterpoint to the stocking-candy-gorging which happens among the kids on Christmas morning. It also keeps everyone satisfied until the big Christmas standing rib roast comes out of the oven much later in the day.

    Merry Christmas, Sandy!

  17. Your mom left a lasting legacy! It is apparent she instilled all her wonderful values and traditions in YOU. I am touched by how much she is still a part of your lives….not always and easy thing to do in this hectic world. Wow, it makes me wish I had sisters! …..your best Christmas gift is each other!! I have printed out your recipe….you might make a cook out of me yet! Denise

  18. I love this post. You are blessed to have your sisters. I really would love to try this resipe for Christmas morning. Haven’t quite gotten my menu together, so I may have to include this!

    Thanks for sharing!


  19. This looks amazing and the perfect special brunch recipe. I usually make my mom’s famous Frech Toast Casserole for the holidays. However, when I was pregnant I made it every chance I could didn’t matter if it was a holiday or not.
    I love that you have this to share with your sisters every year to remember your mom. So special! Makes me wish I had sisters.
    Have a wonderful holiday Sandy!

  20. This looks amazing!!
    I have an apple one that is similar but cannot wait to try this one!!
    Merry Christmas Sandy!!

  21. Sounds DELICIOUS!!! Wow, saving this one to try! Merry Christmas!!!

  22. I’ve got this prepared for tomorrow’s breakfast and will be linking back to you for credit! Thank you so much and Merry Christmas!

  23. I’m about to prepare this to have on hand as part of our Christmas breakfast tomorrow…so thankful that you shared this with us!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  24. I was looking for something new for today and I made this delicious pear casserole, and it was just the right amount of sweetness! Merry Christmas! Thanks for sharing…

  25. I tried this recipe on my family this morning – the flavor was delicious, but the texture was very soggy. I baked it for 40 minutes as directed, the top was a nice crusty brown just pictured. I am wondering if anyone else had this similar experience? Also, I am wondering if baking it longer would help?
    Merry Christmas to all!


  26. I made this last Christmas & it was wonderful. Have you ever tried applies instead of pears? Just curious how it turned out, I’m thinking about trying it soon. Thanks!

  27. Pingback: 45 Christmas Morning Breakfast and Brunch Ideas - Rachel Cooks

  28. This was delicious! I halved the recipe and made it in a square glass, baking dish. I also used torn up challah instead of french bread. I almost doubled the cooking time. It got real brown on top and really rose up. I could see the syrup on the bottom bubbling and kept baking until a sharp knife, inserted in the center, came out relatively clean. Sooooo good! Thanks

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