Crème brûlée French toast

By David Robertson
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Our pastry chef Kat created this recipe for my daughter Chase. Every year, we prepare a cheap and cheerful Christmas breakfast at her school, and this dish is a major hit with the kids, but it’s sophisticated enough for a grown-up’s brunch. The longer the bread soaks, the more it will resemble crème brûlée rather than French toast. Make it in batches and keep them warm in the oven. 

SERVES
12

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
  • 4 cups half-and-half cream
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 Pullman loaf, sliced and crusts removed

Toffee sauce:

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon heavy (36%) cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel

Assembly:

  • Whipped cream
  • Fresh fruit

Directions

French toast:

  1. In a large bowl, combine both sugars, vanilla paste, fleur de sel, half-and-half and eggs and mix well. Set aside.
  2. Cut slices diagonally into two triangles. Overlap slices in a baking pan, like shingles, with points facing up. Pour mixture overtop, making sure bread is completely soaked. Press bread into the mixture if needed. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, but preferably overnight.
  3. Remove pan from the refrigerator and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until centre is cooked through (when a knife inserted into the mixture comes out clean). Set aside and leave the oven on.

Toffee sauce:

  1. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for two minutes, until sugar is dissolved and sauce has thickened slightly.

Assembly:

  1. Immediately pour hot toffee sauce on top of the French toast. Return to the oven and bake until toffee sauce bubbles and clings to the surface. Serve hot with your favourite French toast toppings, such as whipped cream, fresh fruit or Hazelnut Praline. 

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This recipe appears in Gather (© 2019)

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