Butter, for greasing
1 large loaf crusty French bread
8 whole eggs
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces, plus more for serving
Warm pancake syrup, for serving
1 cup fresh fruit or fruit compote, for serving
Powdered sugar, for serving
For the French toast: Grease the baking pan with butter. Tear the bread into chunks, or cut into cubes, and evenly distribute in the pan. Crack the eggs in a big bowl. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover the pan tightly and store in the fridge until needed (overnight preferably).
For the topping: Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and some nutmeg in a separate bowl. Stir together using a fork. Add the butter and with a pastry cutter, and mix it all together until the mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store in a re-sealable plastic bag in the fridge.
When you're ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350° F. Remove the casserole from the fridge and sprinkle the topping over the top. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture or for 1 hour or more for a firmer, crisper texture.
Scoop out individual portions. Top with your choice of powdered sugar, butter and warm pancake syrup, or fruit compote/fresh fruit.