Crème Brûlée French Toast

We didn’t have good luck with parent days this year. For Father’s Day weekend, K was getting over a bad cold. For Mother’s Day weekend, I had an awful stomach bug that made me nauseated and weak for a long weekend. I had planned on making this for my Mother’s Day meal and felt recovered enough to eat it on the day before. K was taking the Fudgelet to the mall for the morning, so I was able to get some stuff done around the house, and take my time prepping this for lunch, which was great. I could only eat one slice because it is rich and I was still barely eating food, but it was delicious.

For the Fudgelet’s slice (above) I used one with minimal caramel on top. For ours, I will definitely darken the caramel a bit more. I was worried about it getting burnt, and pulled it off a bit soon. It still tasted good, even if it wasn’t as pretty.

Because I’m “extra” like that, I used vanilla extract AND a vanilla bean. I love love love vanilla with my bread/dough/custard treats. You could always use just one. But it is already over the top with making a crème brûlée French toast, so, you know, go for both.

And add bacon! Note, I only had a small piece because of both my recovery, and the Fudgelet’s new love for bacon.

Directions for Crème Brûlée French Toast

Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 6 slices of a white bread, such as brioche or challah (I used a pre-sliced brioche from Trader Joe’s)
  • 4/3 (1 and 1/3) cup milk
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 2/3 cup for the topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Whisk together the milk, cream, eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract to form a custardy mixture. Split open the vanilla bean and scrape the pulp into a small bowl. Whisk a tablespoon or two of the custardy mixture into the pulp to make it less likely to clump later. Then, add it to the main custardy mixture.

Place the bread slices in a rimmed tray that will hold the bread in one layer, but just barely. Pour the entire custardy mixture on top. Allow it to soak in for 30 minutes (or soak for longer in the refrigerator). Flip the slices to make sure both sides get the custard. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (a silicone liner would just get too yucky here from the cream). Place the bread slices on the sheet, leaving room between the slices.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center of a slice does not release any wet custard. Keep warm.

The bread gets puffy when it bakes.

When the bread has only a few minutes left to bake, take the remaining 2/3 cup sugar and melt it on the stove in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it melts and turns a honey color, spoon a Tablespoon (or so) of the caramel on top of a piece of toast, then spread it thinly (that is key) with an offset spatula. Continue with all of the toast slices.

Serve with berries and whipped cream if desired.

Directions for Crème Brûlée French Toast (without pictures)

Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 6 slices of a white bread, such as brioche or challah (I used a pre-sliced brioche from Trader Joe’s)
  • 4/3 (1 and 1/3) cup milk
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 2/3 cup for the topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Whisk together the milk, cream, eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract to form a custardy mixture. Split open the vanilla bean and scrape the pulp into a small bowl. Whisk a tablespoon or two of the custardy mixture into the pulp to make it less likely to clump later. Then, add it to the main custardy mixture.

Place the bread slices in a rimmed tray that will hold the bread in one layer, but just barely. Pour the entire custardy mixture on top. Allow it to soak in for 30 minutes (or soak for longer in the refrigerator). Flip the slices to make sure both sides get the custard. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (a silicone liner would just get too yucky here from the cream). Place the bread slices on the sheet, leaving room between the slices. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center of a slice does not release any wet custard. Keep warm.

When the bread has only a few minutes left to bake, take the remaining 2/3 cup sugar and melt it on the stove in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it melts and turns a honey color, spoon a Tablespoon (or so) of the caramel on top of a piece of toast, then spread it thinly (that is key) with an offset spatula. Continue with all of the toast slices.

Serve with berries and whipped cream if desired.

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