Sunday, July 25, 2010

PPQ: Creme Brulee French Toast

Trust me when I say that this tastes way better than it looks.  My kitchen torch didn't have any gas, and the broiler kind of got away from me :-(  But in all honesty, the top didn't even taste burnt, just looked it.

Shawnda (or really, Shawnda's husband) chose this week's recipe for Project Pastry Queen.  Its a pretty standard French toast casserole recipe, but with a (literally) burnt sugar topping.  Though I shouldn't say "standard," because this is truly delicious.  I mean, come on.  Challah, egg yolks, heavy cream, 1/4 of a cup of vanilla extract?  Rich, sweet, custardy, amazing.  And the crispy topping just puts it right over the edge.  I did lighten it up a tad by using 1/4 of the amount of heavy cream, and using 1% milk for the rest.  It still tasted incredibly decadent though.  This is an ideal dish for entertaining, as it is prepped the night before and simply baked in the morning.  It can also be made in individual ramekins, which I think would be especially adorable.  Just watch the broiler, or use the kitchen torch.  Things could get crazy otherwise.

Next week:  my choice!  Peach Jam Scones!

Creme Brulee French Toast
Rebecca Rather,  The Pastry Queen
serves 8-10
  • 1 large loaf of challah
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 4 cups heavy cream, half-and-half, or milk; or a mixture of the three
  • 3/4 cup plus 3-4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted.
Grease a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish.  Slice the challah into 1/2-inch slices, then into cubes.  

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cream, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, vanilla, and butter.

Scatter about 1/4 of the bread cubes in the bottom of the dish, then pour 1/4 of the custard over them, pressing the bread cubes down to be sure they are soaked.  Repeat 3 more times, pressing the mixture down between each layer.  Cover the casserole dish with foil and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325.  Place the casserole inside a larger baking dish, and fill the larger baking dish halfway with boiling water.  Bake 1 1/2 hours, or until the top is light brown and set.

Sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar, and place under the broiler or use a kitchen torch to melt the sugar and brown the top.  The sugar will harden as it cools.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


amanda @ fake ginger said...

It seems like most of us had trouble with our broiler! Mine looked burnt too but like you said, didn't really taste burnt.

Anonymous said...

Every post I've read for this recipe in Project Pastry Queen (which is 4) had the same issues with their broiler. You weren't alone!

I've tasted this recipe before at a brunch and it is delicious. Good enough for dessert, actually.

ashley said...

i'm so glad i'm not the only one who had trouble with the broiler. i had told shawnda that i was probably going to try again without the broiler for better photos but i love that everyone else posted burnt photos. haha. :-)

and i agree, it looked worst than it tasted. i seriously think we only chunked 4 little pieces, the rest was still good! :-)

Joanne said...

I think the name of this more than makes up for the looks. And you're right - how could you go wrong with 1/4 cup of vanilla? you just can't.

Tara @ Smells Like Home said...

we loved this just as much and since i was afraid to use the broiler, my topping was left mostly sugar. not that i'm complaining...can't wait for your peach scones this week!

eatme_delicious said...

This looks amazing. Whenever something says "bruleed" I'm there! Can't believe it uses 1/4 cup of vanilla. I've never seen a recipe use more than maybe a couple of tablespoons, if that!

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