Thursday, January 1, 2009

Creme Bruleed French Toast

I saw a version of this recipe on the Today Show in February 2008 and knew I had to give it a whirl. Anything with creme brulee in the title has to be good, right? I'm not typically a huge French toast fan, but I could eat this every day of the week (of course, I would need a huge clothing allowance to compensate for the expanding waistline that goes along with such a decadent dish). I've served it multiple times, with rave reviews each time. Because I don't drink, I substitute a teaspoon of almond or orange extract (at most) for the Grand Marnier. I also add a liberal amount of ground cinnamon to the milk-egg mixture before it's poured over the bread.

Baked Creme Brulee French Toast

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 loaf country-style or French bread
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon salt


In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish. Cut 1-inch thick slices of bread, reserving ends for another use. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit. (I fit 10 pieces.)
In a bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 350° F. and bring bread to room temperature.
Bake bread mixture, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes (longer if you increases the number of servings).
Serve hot French toast immediately.

Lanna's notes: You can also cube the bread instead of slicing it. It's easier to serve and eat if it's cubed. However, if you do, you'll need to increase your liquid because you'll fit more than 10 pieces in the pan. I use 7 or 8 eggs and 2 cups of milk or half-and-half to get the right amount of liquid. There should be enough liquid so that some will soak into each piece of bread.

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