Custard French Toast with Macerated Strawberries

in Breakfast

The first thing I ever learned how to cook was French toast.  If I remember clearly, I learned how to make this when I was jumping on my parents bed…as they were sleeping.  And in an attempt to get just 15 more minutes of shut-eye, my dad suggested that I make French toast.  I stopped jumping.  He explained.  I listened.  And then ran to the kitchen.

I imagine I was probably wearing my huuuge Tasmanian Devil t-shirt I always slept in. And I probably pulled one of those country-style chairs we had in the dining room, and positioned it up against the counter so I could reach. I’m also gonna assume that I made a gigantic mess.  I think I was pretty good at that back then.  And I’m positive that when I was all done and my parents ate it, they smiled and said it was good because they sorta had to.  You don’t really tell your eight-year-old kid their French toast is gross.

This recipe is waaay different.  I’ve grown up…not sure if you’ve noticed.

For one, my eight-year-old version of French toast had egg shells in it.  I’ll bet on that. I wasn’t a good egg cracker.  And I’m also guessing it had waaaay too much cinnamon and vanilla extract.  I didn’t understand moderation. More was better. And it was on typical, wheat sandwich bread. This one, however, is on beautiful brioche. And instead of a typical egg/milk mixture, I’ve made a little custard, creme brulee style, to dip the Brioche in prior to frying.  I’ve also topped it with mascerated strawberries–I’ll explain later…

This is what I like to call my redemption French toast.

What was the first thing you learned how to cook?

{Let’s talk macerated strawberries! I was just gonna call them strawberries in the title because I think “mascerated” is a super scary word, but it wouldn’t have been accurate.  All “mascerated” means is strawberries soaked in a little sugar and lemon (or booze) for 2 hrs.  I soaked mine for a little less, and they turned out great.  They’re super juicy, a little syrupy, and the kick of lemon makes them even more awesome. I love them.  I’m kinda dreaming of putting them on top of ice cream with a good balsamic vinegar.}

Custard French Toast with Macerated Strawberries

French Toast recipe tweaked from Craft of Baking

Print this recipe!

If you’re feeling really fancy, I suggest taking a half of a vanilla bean and soaking it in the milk/cream mixture as it warms up.  I bet the infusion would be amazing.  If any of you decide to try it, please let me know how it turns out.  Also, I opted to go with no maple syrup or powdered sugar.  If you can’t eat French toast without maple syrup, then I’d suggest maybe skipping the strawberries.

FRENCH TOAST

1 Brioche loaf (6 slices cut in 1 1/2-2-inch-thick slices) (OR! you can use challah if you like)

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

dash of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

MACERATED STRAWBERRIES

1/2 pint of strawberries, hulled and quartered

the juice of one lemon (some people use booze)

2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

In a small bowl, add strawberries, lemon juice and sugar.  Let sit for up to 2 hrs…or longer if you like.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and yolks.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, cream, granulated sugar, vanilla, dash of cinnamon, and salt over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.  Remove the mixture from the heat, and whisking constantly, pour about one quarter of it into the egg mixture.  (Note: This step is kinda important.  If you do add too much warm milk to the eggs, you’ll make scrambled eggs.) Add the remaining milk mixture and whisk to combine.  Use immediately, or chill the custard for up to 2 days until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 200˚F.

In a large heavy skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat until it is hot but not smoking.  Take your brioche slices and dip them into the egg/milk mixture, coating them on both sides.  I didn’t leave the slices in there too long because I don’t like a gooey French toast.  If that’s your thing, then I’d suggest leaving them in there for 2-3 minutes.  I did a quick dip.

Add 2 or 3 slices of brioche (or as many that can fit in your pan) and cook for 3 minutes on each side, or until puffed and golden brown.  Transfer the French toast to a baking sheet and keep it warm in the oven.  Repeat with the remaining butter and bread slices.

Top with the macerated strawberries…or maple syrup…or powdered sugar.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Adriana from Bittersweet Baker April 19, 2010 at 7:19 am

The first thing I learned to bake was chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. I made them with my mother; she always used to make them. Now I’ve taken up baking and she doesn’t bake them anymore!

Also, did you make that brioche? It looks so good!

Reply

Adrianna April 19, 2010 at 10:29 am

Hi Adriana–The brioche was actually store bought from Trader Joe’s. It was super buttery and moist–so good!

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la mujer April 19, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Hi Adrianna,
Oh! I remember that morning? They were really gooood! These look fabulosooo!

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grace April 20, 2010 at 1:46 am

am i the only one who wonders if the french actually eat their toast like this? if they do, i’m moving to france apace. :)

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Mortimer Ulysses April 20, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Where did you get those strawberries? I LOVE strawberries!!!

Reply

Adrianna April 20, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Grace–that’s a super good question. I sure hope they do!

Mortimer/Ryan–umm…I got the strawberries at the store; specifically, Trader Joe’s. P.S. You’re super cool.

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lylah April 21, 2010 at 4:54 pm

This looks amazing and i think i’ll try it this Friday when some dear friends come for breakfast here at the farm. your pics are wonderful, btw.

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Kinnie April 26, 2010 at 1:14 am

Looks really really good! But I might be doing something wrong because it looks better than it tastes. I’m going to try again! :)

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Adrianna April 26, 2010 at 10:41 am

Kinnie, Hope it works out the second time! If not, let me know what the problem is and I’ll see if I can figure it out.

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Stella April 30, 2010 at 6:29 am

This looks amazing. I think I know what I’ll be doing with my Sunday morning. And well, all day Saturday will be spent seeing if Brioche exists in Colombia.
Also I’m dying to see what the design on the bottom plate is, the color fascinates me.

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Adrianna April 30, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Stella–I hope you find it! If not, use Challah–just as good. The design is a pretty flower.

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Mandie June 26, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I justmade these for my boyfriend last night–he loved it! Thanks so much!

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Char July 9, 2010 at 12:06 pm

French toast has been my all time favorite food since a small girl..the best so far is my mom’s made with egg nog..but I have a feeling this will become my favorite. I will give it a try this weekend..

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Honey For Jam November 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm

This looks so delicious!! Can’t wait to cook this for my husband on the weekend..

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Sara April 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I can’t wait to make this, thank you! For the record, I know this response is a tad late, but french toast does indeed exist in France. It’s called pain perdu, however it isn’t very popular like it is in the states.

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Lisa June 19, 2012 at 5:41 am

Hi! I just wanted to say that I used your custard recipe to make banana stuffed french toast tonight (for dinner!) and it was the best french toast I have ever had! I like my french toast well-soaked and by the time it had cooked completely the bananas had also warmed and cooked through, the whole thing was gooey and delicious with salted caramel and rum custard :)

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