For your next weekend breakfast or brunch, treat yourself to something very special, Crème Brulee French Toast. It’s easy to make and combines the delectable flavors of the fabulous French dessert with the famous French breakfast treat. July 27th is National Crème Brulee Day and the perfect excuse to indulge!
Crème brulee is translated to “burnt cream” and while that may not sound quite as appetizing, it refers to the method of heating sugar on top of the custard to caramelize it to a toasty golden syrup that adds a richness and bit of crackle to the layer of creamy egg custard beneath.
French toast is a popular breakfast dish that soaks bread slices in a thin egg custard which are then griddled on both sides to a deep golden brown. French toast is typical sprinkled with a little powdered sugar and served with maple syrup.
Now, combine those two yummy dishes into one easy baked casserole and you’ve got yourself a real treat this weekend for breakfast. With a layer of rich caramel baked on the bottom of the custard-soaked bread, you have Crème Brulee French Toast. No maple syrup needed!
Note: this dish needs to be refrigerated overnight before baking so allow yourself this time.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoon corn syrup
4 croissants, cut in half horizontally (see Note below)
5 large eggs
1 & 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier or grated fresh orange zest, optional
Note: Although you can use any store-bought croissants for this recipe, it really is delicious if fresh bakery croissants are used. If your local Safeway or Zanotto’s bakery does not have fresh croissants available that morning, be sure to check out the wonderful croissants at Cocola, a traditional French bakery located at Santana Row.
- Heat the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup over low heat in a saucepan, stirring until smooth and butter is completely melted. Pour mixture into a 13-inch by 9-inch baking pan.
- Arrange the cut croissants side-by-side in the pan, cut sides facing up, squeezing them in slightly so they all fit.
- In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and Grand Marnier or orange zest, if using. Make sure you whisk this mixture until it is well-combined. Pour the mixture evenly over the croissants in the baking pan.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
- About 1 hour before serving, remove the pan from the refrigerator, uncover and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake in pre-heated oven until edges are lightly golden and the whole thing is puffed, about 35 – 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve by using a spatula to cut into and flip each serving over. Spoon a little of the caramel sauce from the bottom of the baking pan over the top of each serving.
Crème Brulee French Toast is delicious served with crisp bacon or sausage, sliced fresh strawberries and /or bananas, freshly-brewed coffee (see Brewing the Perfect Cup of Coffee), and maybe even a mimosa! The perfect way to relax at home on a weekend morning!
For some other great weekend brunches, try:
- Eggs Benedict Strata with Easy Hollandaise
- Malted Waffles and Toasted Pecan Syrup
- Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes
- Lemon Raspberry Poppy Seed Coffeecake
- Classic Quiche Lorraine and Lemon-scented Strawberries
- Corned Beef Sweet Potato Hash with Poached Eggs
- Fresh Peach Waffles
- Coffee Coffeecake with Espresso Glaze
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