Make the streusel: Combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon for the streusel in a medium bowl. rub in the butter with your fingertips until coarse crumbs form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the egg mixture: Whisk the eggs, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla together in a large measuring jug.
Layer the casserole: Place half of the bread in a 9x13 inch casserole dish. Top with the cream cheese and half of the blueberries. Pour over ⅓ of the egg mixture. Top with the remaining bread and berries, then pour over the remaining egg mixture. Make sure to pour it evenly over all of the bread so no pieces are left dry.
Chill the casserole: Cover the casserole with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at least 2 hours.
Bake: Once ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Evenly top with the streusel, then bake the casserole for 40-50 minutes, or until set. Allow the bake to rest on the counter for 10 minutes before serving.
Bread: I highly recommend using stale bread. If you only have fresh, cube it, spread it on a baking sheet and bake at 275°F for 10-15 minutes, until starting to feel dry (do not let it brown, though). My favorite type of bread for this casserole is a white sourdough or a simple white bread (I do often use homemade bread by my husband, but storebought is perfectly fine!). Challah or brioche is also delicious, but in my testing of this recipe I noticed you need to reduce the milk by ¼ cup if using a very soft type of bread (brioche, Texas toast, challah…) compared to a more sturdy one like sourdough.
Blueberries: I used fresh, if you’re using frozen, do not defrost. Please note that frozen berries will release more juices during thawing and during baking, so you may want to reduce the milk by ¼ cup.
Maple syrup: Feel free to use pancake syrup in place of the maple syrup.
Cream cheese: You can opt to leave out the cream cheese if you prefer. My original version of this recipe didn’t call for cream cheese – I kept getting emails asking me if adding it would work, so I decided to re-test the recipe with cream cheese added. What can I say… It’s delicious 😉
The longer you allow the bread to soak, the softer your casserole will be end the end. On the other hand, less soaking time means a crispier top.
You can make the streusel just before baking, but it’s better to make it ahead of time so the butter can chill again. That way the streusel bits stay crispy and don’t “run away” in the oven.
This recipe can be halved and baked in an 8×8 or 7×11 inch casserole dish if you need to feed less people.