Challah French Toast with Fresh Berries and Maple Butter
For the fattest, most custardy and satiny French toast, you need to get the bread to absorb as much of the egg mixture as possible before it saturates and falls apart (a dunk of about five minutes will do the trick). Of course, you can still fry it up even if it does fall apart – it just won’t look as pretty. (If you serve it before everyone is caffeinated, they may not even notice.)
4 – 6
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 8 (1-inch) slices challah bread, homemade or your favorite store-bought soft loaf
- 3 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, as needed
- Fresh berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, or sliced strawberries,for serving
- Confectioners’ sugar, for serving
To prepare the maple butter: In a small bowl, beat together the softened butter with the syrup until smooth. Cover tightly and refrigerate if not using soon (it will keep for up to 1 week).
To make the French toast: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Pour the custard into a wide, shallow dish. Soak each slice of bread in the liquid, turning to coat on both sides, until the bread is saturated but not falling apart, 4 to 5 minutes.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt 1. tablespoons of the butter in the pan. Working in batches, cook the challah until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining challah, adding butter as needed.
Divide the toast among individual plates and serve, topped with maple butter, fresh berries, and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
Cinnamon Sugar French Toast
Omit the maple butter and berries. Combine 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Divide the hot French toast among individual plates and top each slice with a fat pat of butter. Let the butter melt slightly, then sprinkle immediately and liberally with the cinnamon sugar.
Raisin Walnut French Toast with Cinnamon Maple Butter
If you eat a slice of our raisin walnut bread still warm from the oven, it’s so cakelike, soft, and cinnamony that you can’t help but think of turning it into French toast. Using this bread rather than challah will make for a firmer, sweeter, and spicier pain perdu, as the French say, with a more pronounced crust. So for crust lovers, this is your breakfast. When we were little, Bruce would never eat his crusts; he’d cut them all off and Eric would eat them. Eric was a big fan of the crusty outsides while Bruce loved the fluffy insides. That was kind of a jumping-off point for our culinary partnership. But we both love this French toast. Add a pinch of ground cinnamon to the maple butter. Substitute Raisin Walnut Bread or purchased for the challah.
Reprinted with permission from Bromberg Bros. Blue Ribbon Cookbook by Bruce and Eric Bromberg and Melissa Clark, copyright © 2010. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.
Photography by Quentin Bacon