After having made sticky buns recenly, I found myself with brioche dough handy. I’ve finally come to terms with a fundamental part of the breakfast food pyramid missing from my repetoire of go-to day-starters: the morning-time cousin of bread pudding, yes, French Toast.
French Toast, like many “common” breakfast items, might seem less than exciting to many given how many sad, sorry versions are so readily available out there. This is meant to change that in a big way. Heck, this borders on dessert given how incredibly rich this is.
The secret here is simple: the key behind a good French toast is good bread. For this, I baked a loaf of brioche–a dense, rich, buttery bread that is delicious in it’s own right (which is why I had to eat some just with a dab of jam). You want a bread that can absorb a respectable amount of custard, has a lot of flavor, and can hold it’s shape reasonably well (translated: not white bread).
Armed with a good bread, making the French toast itself is quite simple. You mix a simple custard, soak the bread, and pan fry it in copious amounts of butter, “seasoned” with a bit of sugar to give a nice, crisp, caramelized exterior and an incredibly decadent, tender, buttery sweet interior. I chose to top mine off with a freshly made strawberry compote, almond slivers, and a light dusting of sugar.
Another nice thing: there’s very little work to do when you make this for breakfast since you can bake the bread ahead of time. You’ll use all the extra time in the mornong savoring this breakfast–I promise.
- Strawberry Compote
- 1.5 lbs strawberries
- 3/8 cup sugar
- 5-6 slices brioche
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- ~6 Tbsp butter (have more handy as needed)
First, prepare the brioche dough. Cut it into four pieces, roll them into cylinders roughly as long as your bread pan is wide, and lay them down in your bread pan.
Let this proof in a warm place for an hour or two. The dough should nearly fill the bread pan and all four pieces should meld together.
Prepare an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water) in a bowl an brush the top of the loaf before baking in a 400°F oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven, and in 15 minutes, from the pan before allowing an hour cool.
With the bread ready to go, cut ~1/2-3/4 inch thick slices.
Prepare the strawberry compote. This is incredibly simple–hull the berries, slice them, and toss with the sugar in a saucepan. After 10 minutes, warm over medium heat for 10 minutes further before removing from heat.
Meanwhile, prepare the custard. This is also incredibly simple: mix everything (short of the brioche, butter, and compote) in a bowl and whisk thoroughly.
Finally, just prior to when you’d like to cook the French Toast, soak each slice of brioche in the custard for roughly 2 minutes, flip, and soak for 2 minutes further. Then, in a hot pan, melt roughly 3 Tbsp of butter (don’t be stingy). Season the bottom side of toast with sugar and fry it in the pan for 3 minutes. Season the top with sugar, flip, and fry for 3 minutes further before removing from heat.
And tada, its really that simple! Figure 2 slices of French Toast yields one serving. Plate, top with some strawberry compote, dust with sugar, and enjoy!