Crème Brûlée French Toast

Crème brûlée might be my favorite dessert. Rich and creamy with that sugary crisp layer floating on the top - it gives me joy. It is also one of the desserts I make least because it's pretty fussy, time consuming, and I therefore just don't get around to it too often. But I have found a way to get a little of that telltale flavor and texture into another of my favorites ... this time for breakfast!

Crème Brûlée French Toast takes the best parts of each dish and marries them in a way that will have you reaching for your griddle every weekend. I often work the egg whites into an omelette or even fried rice so nothing goes to waste, but the true passion here is this morning miracle. Tender brioche gets a crème brûlée custard bath and gets fried on a butter-coated griddle and sprinkled with coarse sugar that caramelizes on one side of the toast. The result is a breakfast that wants to spend a little time with some fresh fruit, maple syrup, and you!

Some might say that including such a rich breakfast dish in your rotation so soon after the New Year is asking for trouble. I say don't share it with them! My preference is to practice moderation throughout the holidays and just continue that throughout the year, so a decadent breakfast here and there is not only not a problem, it's good for the soul. Just as we're coming off the festive high the holidays gave us, it's good to embrace little special touches that help keep things from becoming cold and barren, like so much of the world around us this time of the year.

Apart from the aforementioned fruit and maple syrup, I recommend warm mugs of coffee or cocoa and even a slice or two of thick cut bacon if you'd like. Save the calorie conscious eating for those reserved egg whites and enjoy the start to a decadent day!

Crème Brûlée French Toast

  • 8 eggs, yolks separated from the whites and whites reserved for another use
  • ¾ c. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 loaf brioche bread, sliced 1” thick
  • Turbinado sugar, optional

Preheat a griddle to medium-high heat.

In a shallow dish, whisk together the egg yolks, cream, vanilla, and cinnamon. Carefully dip the slices of brioche into the egg mixture and then onto the preheated griddle (brush the griddle with butter, if desired). While one side of the bread cooks, carefully sprinkle turbinado sugar evenly over the uncooked side. When the first side of each slice of bread is golden, carefully flip it and allow the other side to fully cook. Remove the cooked slices of French toast to a plate and keep warm.

Serve warm, with the caramelized sugar side up, with fresh fruit and maple syrup.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes