I love entertaining for brunch but definitely don't want to wake up early to slave over a stove until my guests come over. With this casserole, I make it a day or two ahead and just pop it in the oven an hour or so before people arrive. When they get here, the house is filled with the smell of pumpkin spice, maple syrup and freshly brewed coffee.
Technique tip: Make this casserole ahead of time and just pop in the oven an hour before breakfast. The extra time in the fridge will let the spices marinate throughout the custard and the bread will just melt into it.
Swap option: If you don't like pumpkin, try adding apple butter or fresh berries instead.
In a blender, process the cream cheese, pumpkin and cream until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and whisk in the remaining ingredients except bread. Once the mixture is fully homogeneous, add the bread and stir to fully moisten. Pour into your baking dish and mash down the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until you are ready to bake (1 hour to 3 days).2.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.3.
Uncover the casserole and press down the floating bread with your hands or a spatula. It's OK if it looks a little soupy; that's just all your creamy, custardy goodness. Place the casserole dish inside a large roasting pan with high sides and put it in the oven. Pour hot water into the roasting pan so that it comes halfway up the outside of the casserole dish.4.
Bake uncovered for 1 hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.5.
Serve warm with powdered sugar dusted on top and warm maple syrup on the side.