Easter came around again, so I decided to suggest the family get together again for brunch. I didn't want to simply reproduce the previous years dish, but instead I wanted to build on it and add my own flair to a new dish. I was browsing through food network and saw a recipe for a the Creme Brulee French Toast. It sounded great, so I had to make it.
As it should be noted I am a HUGE fan of french toast. I mean, if I had been able to come up with a snazzy name for this blog that included the words French and Toast I would have. But alas, I was not so clever and settled on "The Breakfast Menu." I am not sure if it is the egg flavor or the vanilla but there is something very primal about my connection to French toast.
I made several changes to the recipe, as there were issues with the availability of the ingredients. I encourage changing the recipe to suit your tastes. The recipe calls for Challah french toast, which I used last year, but I decided to instead use Texas toast. This was mostly (read: only) because Texas Toast was on sale at my grocery for a dollar a loaf. Challah tends to be expensive for a single use item and times are hard.
The dish turned out incredibly well. It was flavored much more like a bread pudding than a French toast but the flavor was robust and dynamic. I absolutely loved it and there was very little of it left after the meal. Everyone that tried it said it was great. I drizzled maple syrup over the whole dish and it was sweet enough that it didn't need to add any additional.
One major change I made was the addition of blueberries. I thought it would be a tasty addition. There used to be a dessert called the blueberry stack at a restaurant called the Rusty Bucket. It was like a marriage of bread pudding, and blueberry pancakes. Unfortunately they took it off the menu and it is no longer available. As a result my wife and I have been trying to figure out how to duplicate the flavor. I thought about that flavor as I added the frozen blueberries. In order to get their flavor I pureed half the batch and added it to the blueberry mix. One mistake I made was I should have strained out the blueberry seeds. When you look at my dish it has a burnt look to it. that is actually the blueberry skins and seeds that didn't seep into the bread and was darkened by the oven.
Once the brown sugar and butter mixture is in the pan you layer in your slices of bread. I should warn you here: do not remove the pieces of bread. They sit down in the butter and stick to the mixture. If, for whatever reason, you make the mistake I made and lift one of the pieces of bread you would get a wierd piece of bread that wont stick to the bottom and will float when you go to cook it. It also messes up the consistency of the brown sugar/butter floor of the dish.
The dish went into the fridge. Forgive the stains, as I was clearing the bottom shelf I discovered that a jar of banana peppers had spilled. It was late so I decided I would handle it in the morning.
8 hours later...
It looked great on the plate and tasted wonderful. It was sweet and none of the various additions overpowered the taste. I would have rather it didn't have the dark appearance. The photo from the site had a more golden appearance. I would also have rather it didn't fall when I took it out of the oven but instead maintained some of its fluff. In spite of all that it came out very well and everyone liked it.
Overall I give this recipe a 5 out of 5 broken eggs.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 1 (8 to 9) inch round loaf Challah 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 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 6 (1-inch) thick slices from center portion of bread, reserving ends for another use, and trim crusts. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit. 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 degrees F and bring bread mixture to room temperature. Bake uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes.