Imagine a mash-up of cinnamon toast, bread pudding, and pie. We’re all about the warm jammy fruit hiding inside this dessert. Covering the whole dish with foil keeps the bread from burning before the fruit cooks through, and weighing the entire thing down with a heavy skillet ensures that maximum syrupy fruit juices soak into the slices.
- 10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- ½ tsp. ground cardamom (optional)
- 2 lb. apples, sliced, stone fruit, cut into thick wedges, blackberries, and/or blueberries
- 1 loaf challah, brioche, or pullman, sliced ½" thick (you’ll need 12–15)
- Maple syrup and vanilla ice cream (for serving)
Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°. Butter a shallow 2-qt. baking dish. Mix sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt in a small bowl. Toss fruit, vanilla, and ¼ cup sugar mixture in a medium bowl; set aside.
Spread 10 Tbsp. butter in a thin layer across each slice of bread, working butter all the way to the edges (you mighthave extra butter, depending on the size of your slices). Generously sprinkle remaining sugar mixture over buttered side of bread. Add any leftover sugar to reserved fruit. Fit about half of bread slices along bottom and up sides of prepared dish, placing sugared side down and overlapping slightly. Scatter reserved fruit over and top with remaining slices of bread, placing sugared side up and shingling to cover fruit. Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet and cover tightly with foil. Set a cast-iron skillet on top to weigh down; bake until juices are bubbling, 50–60 minutes.
Carefully remove dish from oven; remove skillet and foil. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown, 10–15 minutes more. Let cool 20 minutes.
Divide baked cinnamon toast among plates, top with a scoop of ice cream, and drizzle with maple syrup.
Do Ahead: Dessert can be baked 1 day ahead. Let cool, then store tightly wrapped at room temperature. Reheat, uncovered, in a 300° oven.