Tried this on a whim last weekend, as I’ve been on a creme brulee kick lately, or at least the idea of it, and the idea of that plus french toast sounded grade A amazing. I think this needs another go around to get it perfect, especially with the topping. Maybe caramelizing the sugar will work better under a broiler, or with a blowtorch? Any suggestions would be appreciated. 

Seriously, though, be sure to flip the toasts to get the perfect goldenness to it, and and have some fresh berries to make it even more amazing (these are Tay barries, a cross between raspberries and blackberries). I also used a loaf of shokupan (a type of Japanese milk bread) instead of brioche, and I still think it tastes amazing. Plus, odds are you’ll have some left over, for some lovely breakfasts during the week. 

Creme Brulee French Toast

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf rich bread of choice (again, Deb recommends brioche, I used shokupan, sliced to about an inch or so thick)
  • 1 1/3 c whole milk
  • 2/3 c heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 c white sugar
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 T alcohol of choice (original recommended Grand Marnier, I went Kahlua)
  • 1 T vanilla extract

Topping

  • 2/3 c white sugar

If your bread isn’t already sliced, slice it into generous, thick slices – Deb recommends 1.5 in thick slices, my loaf was cut into 1 in slices, about 9 slices total. Whisk together the milk, heavy whipping cream, eggs, white sugar, sea salt, booze, and vanilla extract. If you want to use a vanilla bean, you can do so – just follow Deb’s recommended steps for whisking in the vanilla bean scraping in the linked recipe. 

Preheat your oven to 325. Take a rimmed tray or pan that will fit as much of your bread as possible (I ended up going with two separate glass pans, and even those weren’t the greatest fits, as you can see), lay out the bread, and pour the custard over it. Let the slices absorb the custard for a half hour, flipping over about halfway through to ensure every side is soaking up the custard evenly. (You can also toss this in the fridge overnight to soak if you’re so inclined, and you won’t need to flip them if that’s the case.)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper if you have it (I do because the people before me in this apartment left a lot of stuff, hallelujah), and space out the french toasts so that there’s juuust enough space that they can breathe a bit. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, flipping halfway through so that each side gets a lovely golden sear to it (I didn’t flip them, and I think they look better with both sides seared). You’ll know they’re ready when you lightly slice into the center of the bread and twist, and no wet custard comes out. 

About five minutes out from the toast being done, take a small, heavy, completely dry pot and melt 2/3 c white sugar over medium heat, stirring with a fork, and until it’s fully melted and the color of honey (see pic five). Time this so that this happens as soon as the toasts are done. Remove the bread from the oven, and then drizzle about 1 T of the caramel over the toasts, attempting to do so evenly (I just ended up doing a fancy drizzle). 

Add berries, and voila – a lovely, decadent weekend breakfast. 

(If anyone’s tried the broiler method for caramelization that Deb mentions, please let me know if it worked for you – I want to try that next time. Or maybe the hot spoon method would also work.)

Creme brulee.  One of the classic desserts to make, and always fun to see if you can make at home. This was my first try ever doing so, and honestly, I’d say these turned out really damn good. Creme brulee is awesome by itself, but add in a good swig of Kahlua, and it only gets even better. 

Don’t have a kitchen torch? Don’t trust your broiler to properly caramelize the crust? No problem!  Use the spoon method (which I will detail below!)

White Russian Creme Brulee
Makes 4 ramekins (mine were larger so it was 3)

Ingredients

  • 1.25 c heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 c whole milk
  • 1 t vanilla extract (or vanilla pod if you have it on hand)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • .25 c sugar
  • 1 T Kahlua (I used a bit more than this)

Preheat your oven to 325. Take your whipping cream, milk, and vanilla, and heat in a pan over medium low heat, whisking constantly. When the milk starts to steam and bubble, remove it from heat and cover it, letting it cool. 

Using an electric mixer, beat together your egg yolks and sugar until they’re well blended and light in color.  Slowly add the cooled scalded cream into the mixture, followed by the Kahlua. Once it’s well blended, strain it through a strainer. 

Fill your ramekins with the mixture, and put them in a cake pan. Boil a pot of water, and add it to the pan, so that it comes up to halfway up the dishes. Bake for 25 minutes – you’ll know when the custards are set by shaking them – if they jiggle, they’re done.  Place them in the refrigerator for a minimum of a day. 

Once you’re ready to serve them, bring them out of the fridge and bring to room temperature (usually takes about 20 minutes). Sprinkle 1-2 t of sugar on top.  Don’t have a torch?  This is where your stove comes in. Take a metal spoon, turn a flame on your gas stove to high, and heat the spoon over the flame for about 1 to 2 minutes. (Not pictured is the pot holder I had wrapped around the spoon so I didn’t burn myself.)  Take your heated spoon, and press down on the sugar for about 30 seconds so that you hear a sizzle, and maybe see a bit of smoke. 

And then behold, your awesome boozy creme brulee!