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Author Clifford Wright cooks delicious casseroles from around the world in his latest work, Bake Until Bubbly: The Ultimate Casserole Cookbook. It includes new and improved classic recipes as well as some upscale and unusual ones.

Blackberry Breakfast Casserole
Makes 8 servings

For the blackberry syrup

  • 1 lb fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cream of coconut
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the bread

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 loaf French or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch thick slices
  • 1/2 lb cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ozs sour cream
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups slivered almonds

For the eggs

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, thinly sliced

For the garnish

  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 400º F.  Lightly butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking casserole.

2. Prepare the blackberry syrup.  Place the blackberries, sugar, water, cream of coconut, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla in a large saucepan over high heat.  Bring the liquids to a boil and continue boiling, stirring often, until syrupy, about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool.

3. Prepare the bread.  In a small but wide saucepan or a small skillet, melt the butter with 1 cup of brown sugar and the molasses over low heat, stirring occasionally, until everything is dissolved and the mixture is syrupy, about 5 minutes.  Dunk the bread slices into this syrup to coat both sides and then arrange half of the coated bread slices in the baking casserole.  Spread half the cream cheese over the bread, then spread half the sour cream over the cream cheese.  Arrange all of the sliced apples over the sour cream.  Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon brown sugar, half of the cinnamon, and 1/3 of the almonds.  Cover with the remaining coated bread slices.  Spread the remaining cream cheese and sour cream over the bread.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar, the remaining cinnamon, and 1/3 of the almonds.

4. Prepare the eggs.  In a bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, brown sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla to blend.  You should have about 3 1/2 cups of this egg mixture.  If you don’t, add enough water so the egg mixture equals this amount.  Pour the egg mixture over the bread.  Dot the top with butter.  Pour 1 cup of blackberry syrup over.  Sprinkle with the remaining almonds.

5. Bake until the liquids bubble vigorously, about 35 minutes.  Pour the remaining blackberry syrup over the casserole, sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar, and serve hot.

Makes 4 servings

  • 3/4 lb Swiss chard with stems, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 ozs prosciutto fat or pork fat, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk               
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter

1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Butter a medium baking casserole, preferably a 9-inch round earthenware one.   

2. In a food processor, place the Swiss chard, onion, pork fat, and parsley and blend until very finely chopped and almost paste-like.  Do this in batches if your food processor is not big enough to blend the mixture all at once.  Blend in the salt and pepper.  Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the milk, flour, and eggs until smooth.  Add the vegetable mixture and stir until blended.  Transfer to the prepared baking casserole.

4. Bake until the pounti has set and skewer pushed to the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.  Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Music break: Once Around the Block by Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra