If you know me, you know I’m Spanish, and proud of it!  So, call me prejudiced, but, in my opinion, there is no cuisine more delicious than the Spanish cuisine. However, the French often argue that their cuisine is superior.  For example, the French argue that they invented Crepes, when anybody who knows anything, knows that my ancestors in Northern Spain invented them.  Except, we Spaniards call them Filloas.  You can see my recipe for Filloas here.

THE SECRET TO MAKING THE BEST CREPES IN THE WORLD - Make "Filloas" - Spanish Style Crepes | Recipe By

And when it comes to dessert, the Spanish have got it all over the French.  In the Catalan region of Spain where Barcelona is located, they make a desert called Crema Catalana.  It is basically what most Americans call Creme Brulee, except that Crema Catalana really is much better.  French folks like to claim that they invented Creme Brulee, but everyone in the know, knows that it was actually invented in Spain, and it is called Crema Catalana.  GOT THAT?!

Well, my favorite Spanish dessert just happens to be Crema Catalana.  Since I could consume it morning, noon and night, I decided to invent a Brunch recipe that incorporates the Crema Catalana custard.  So, even though I’m pretty sure they don’t eat French Toast in France, I am paying homage to both the French and the Spanish with my Crema Catalana-French Toast Casserole recipe. As I told you in a previous post, I prepared this dish the night before my Granddaughter’s Baptism……

A Beautiful Baptism Brunch | By

and baked it off the next morning for the Post-Baptismal Brunch. It is a perfect make-ahead dish, and is especially nice when entertaining at breakfast time.  So, let me show you how to make it.

Crema Catalan French Toast Casserole | By

In a small saucepan, melt 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter.  (I use salted butter because I prefer the touch of salt flavor.)  Add 1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of corn syrup, and a pinch of cinnamon.

Crema Catalan French Toast Casserole | By

Cook on low, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved and you are left with a luscious caramel sauce.  The day I prepared my Crema Catalana-French Toast Casserole, I was cooking for a crowd, therefore I doubled the recipe. So, what you are seeing in these photos is a double batch; however, the recipe I am giving you here is not doubled.

Crema Catalan French Toast Casserole | By

Next, slice 1 large loaf of soft French bread into thick, 1″ slices.  Discard the heels.  Pour the caramel sauce into the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking pan.

Crema Catalan French Toast Casserole | By

Dip each piece of sliced French bread into the caramel sauce, coating one side.  Then, line the bread up in the baking pan at a slight angle.

Crema Catalan French Toast Casserole | By

Now, it’s time to prepare the Crema Catalana custard. Beat 6 large eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Then, pour in 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1-1/2 cups of half & half, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk it until combined.

Crema Catalan French Toast Casserole | By

Then, pour the custard over the bread, nudging the slices open to coat all sides of the bread.

Crema Catalan French Toast Casserole | By

Now, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.  This is an important step that should not be missed, as the custard needs time to be absorbed by the bread.  The next morning remove it from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature before baking.  Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Cover loosely with foil and bake, covered, for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue baking for another 15 minutes until the custard is set and the bread is puffy and golden brown.  Serve hot.  ENJOY!


Be careful not to get distracted by your Baptismal Brunch guests and over-cook your Crema Catalana-French Toast Casserole like I did.  After all, you want yours to be prettier than mine!

Crema Catalan French Toast Casserole | By


Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This delicious breakfast casserole pays homage to the iconic dessert of Spain: Crema Catalana. Not unlike Creme Brulee, this custardy masterpiece will delight your sweet tooth and charm your guests. It is perfect for a make-ahead breakfast or brunch.
Recipe type: Breakfast or Brunch
Serves: 8
  • ½ Cup (1 stick) Butter
  • 1 Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
  • Pinch of Cinnamon
  • 1 Large Loaf French Bread, Sliced in 1" Slices, Heels Discarded
  • 6 Large Eggs, Beaten
  • ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1-1/2 Cup Half & Half
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  1. Add butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and cinnamon to a small sauce pan.
  2. Over low heat, cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.
  3. Remove from heat and pour into a 9" x 13" baking dish.
  4. Dip each bread slice in the caramel sauce, coat one side.
  5. Place bread slices in baking dish at a angle.
  6. Whisk eggs in a large mixing bowl.
  7. Add sugar, half & half, vanilla extract, lemon zest and salt to the eggs and whisk to combine.
  8. Pour egg custard mixture over the bread, nudging each piece open, allowing it to absorb the custard.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  10. Before baking, remove casserole from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature before baking.
  11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  12. Cover casserole loosely with aluminum foil.
  13. Bake for 30 minutes.
  14. Remove foil and continue baking for another 15 minutes or until custard is set and toast is lightly browned.
  15. Serve hot.

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