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Cook for the Soul: Overnight French Toast Tray

Try this fantastic recipe for an Overnight French Toast Tray shared with Active Retirees by Lucy Lord from her cookbook Cook for the Soul.


Thank your past self the morning after the night before with this sweet and special brunch dish. Prepare it in advance, allowing the bread to soak up all of the sweet milk and then bake, serve piled high with seasonal fruits and lashings of maple syrup. Of course, this can be made and baked in one go, but there’s something so relaxing about opening the fridge in the morning and having this ready to go with minimal work needed. Baked in one tray, there’s minimal washing up too. Place in the middle of the table and watch it disappear. 


60g butter, plus extra for greasing 100g soft light brown sugar 
4 tbsp maple syrup 225ml milk 
4 large eggs 
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or use vanilla extract) 
1 tsp ground cinnamon 8 slices of bread, halved diagonally 
40g demerara sugar  


Strawberries or other berries
Maple syrup
Mint leaves
Icing sugar


 1. Grease a 23 x 33cm baking tin with butter. 

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Add the light brown sugar and maple syrup and gently stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour this into the prepared baking tin. 

3. Whisk the milk, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon together in a shallow bowl. Fully submerge each triangle of bread into this milky mixture, then arrange in the baking tin, allowing the slices to slightly overlap if necessary. Pour any of the remaining milky mixture over the top. Wrap the tin in foil and refrigerate overnight (or let it soak at room temperature for at least 30 minutes). 

4. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 210°C/190°C fan and remove the French toast tray from the fridge. Before it goes in the oven, peel back the foil and sprinkle the top with the demerara sugar. Re-cover with the foil and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10–15 minutes until the bread is toasted and golden and there’s no more liquid in the tin. 

5. Remove from the oven and leave to slightly cool before serving. Serve warm, topped with berries, maple syrup, mint leaves and a dusting of icing sugar. 


• Use any thick sliced bread. I prefer white sourdough or brioche, or use gluten-free bread.

• Use any milk alternatives. 

• Try scattering over chopped nuts before baking. Or dot with 170g cream cheese.


Extracted from Cook for the Soul by Lucy Lord (HarperCollins, RRP $34.99). Photography by Martin Poole.