1 cup Marionberry jam (may substitute another flavor, such as raspberry, apricot or strawberry )
About 12 ounces of French bread loaf (3/4 of an average 1-pound package), cubed
8 ounces of cream cheese (regular or reduced-fat), cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half or milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Powdered sugar, for serving (optional)
Maple syrup, for serving (optional)
Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Warm the jam in a small saucepan over medium heat until smooth and runny (or heat in microwave).

Arrange half of the bread cubes in bottom of a lightly greased, 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with the cream cheese cubes, then drizzle with softened jam. Top with remaining bread cubes.

Whisk the eggs with the half-and-half, cinnamon and vanilla. Drizzle egg mixture evenly over bread mixture. Sprinkle with the brown sugar. Cover with foil or plastic wrap. Chill overnight (or for at least 5 hours) so bread can soak up egg mixture.

Bake in a 325-degree oven, covered with foil, for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until top is golden-brown and mixture is cooked in center (when a kitchen knife inserted comes out clean).

Serve as is or with any of the optional toppings.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.