This recipe is our most anticipated dish of the Christmas season. It soaks overnight before it bakes so a crusty bread works best. I like to use 2 kinds of blueberries - regular sized berries in the casserole & wild berries in the sauce. The sauce makes the dish & it's quick & easy to make so don't skip it!
2 French Baguettes or 1 lg Country White Loaf, day old (nearly stale)
2 (8 oz) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
2 cups frozen blueberries
¼ cup powdered sugar
1½ cups milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp corn starch
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups wild blueberries
1 Tbsp butter
Spray a 9x13 pan with baking spray. Cut all the bread in the cubes. Spread half the bread in the prepared pan, pressing down slightly. In bowl of stand mixer beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together. Drop by the spoonful the cream cheese mixture evenly on the bread layer. Top with the blueberries and then the remaining bread.
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and maple syrup. Pour over the entire casserole. Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to bake, remove from the fridge 30 minutes before baking to take the chill off. Bake covered with foil at 350° for 30 minutes and then remove cover and bake an additional 25-30 minutes until center is set. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
While the casserole is baking prepare the syrup. In a medium saucepan combine sugar, corn starch and water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once it's reached a boil simmer for 3-4 minutes until thickened. Add in blueberries and butter and simmer for 10 more minutes.
Pour syrup over entire casserole or individual portions. Serve immediately, or cover and store for up to 2 days, reheating before serving.