An amazing, light-and-fluffy, make-ahead, baked French toast that will have people asking you for the recipe.
Be it Father’s day brunch, Christmas morning, or just a regular day breakfast, this is a simple but delicious dish that is a great addition to any brunch. I had my father-in-law over for breakfast. This paired with a fruit salad was the perfect breakfast combination. It did not take long for the six of us to demolish it.
I prefer to make this with challah because of its naturally eggy texture. You could make this with brioche, which is also an egg bread but is naturally quite a bit richer due to all the butter in brioche. You could also try other types of bread like a French baguette or country-style bread, but I will still stand by challah as the best bread to make French toast.
If you wanted to mix it up, you could also use one of the raisin challah that is preferred for Rosh Hashana. Or try it with some cinnamon sprinkled on top before baking.
Crème Brûlée French Toast
- ½ cup unsalted butter (113 g)
- 1 cup packed Brown sugar (213 g)
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup (41g or 30 ml)
- 1 (8 to 9-inch) round loaf Challah bread cut into 1-inch slices
- 5 large eggs
- 1 ½ C half-and-half (363 g or 375 ml)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (5 ml)
- 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur (5 ml) 1/2 tsp orange extract would also work
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Save the ends of the bread for another use or eat them as a chefs' treat. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer of an ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking dish. You can trim the pieces to get them to fit well. Don't be afraid to squeeze them in a bit. Now that you have figured out how the pieces will fit into the pan, take them out and place them on the counter or a cutting board in the position they will belong in the pan. It is much easier to figure out how to fit the pieces together this way than once you have hot sticky syrup in your pan.
- In a small heavy saucepan, melt the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring until smooth. You don't need to boil this, but you want to stir until you do not see a layer of melted butter floating on the top and the sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture into the bottom of your baking dish.
- Since you already know how they will fit into the pan this should be easy - Arrange bread slices in a single layer on top of the syrup, squeezing the slices slightly to fit. Phew, the hard part is done.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt until well combined. Pour evenly over the bread.
- Cover the baking dish and chill for at least 8 hours.
- Remove the pan from the fridge about 45 minutes to an hour before you are ready to bake it. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Bake uncovered, in the middle of the oven until puffed and edges are pale golden 35-40 minutes. Serve warm.
- This dish does not need syrup but is delicious with a squirt of whipped cream and a handful of fresh berries.
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