Crispy, crackly sugary top meets thick and custardy creme brulee french toast recipe, for a special (but super easy!) breakfast treat.
I have been wanting to try this recipe forever and I finally had a chance this past weekend. I loved that it was easy and could be set to soak overnight. In the morning, simply mix up the sugar mixture and pop in the oven. And in 30 short minutes, I was rewarded with honestly, the best French toast I’ve ever eaten!
This dish is perfect for everything from holiday mornings (since you can mostly make ahead) to just a special weekend treat for the family. It really does taste like creme brulee and everyone is sure to love it.
As for serving, a small drizzle of maple syrup is perfect. You don’t need much more sweetness, but the flavour is nice. A side of fruit and lightly sweetened whipped cream is a great addition.
Cook’s Notes for Creme Brulee French Toast
A couple of things to keep in mind with this dish. First, use a baking sheet with higher sides (1-inch-ish). I only have one baking sheet like that, so rather than use the two, I just removed the soaked bread temporarily and rinsed off the baking sheet before using it to bake on.
Be sure to cut your bread thick. About 1 inch. It helps to keep the sweet topping to custard ratio in balance and prevents the bread from becoming too soggy. And speaking of bread, start with at least a day old loaf. Heading to stale is even better.
Finally, spread the brown sugar mixture/butter mixture over the entire pan in a thin even layer. This will ensure a nice crispy layer for each piece of French toast.
Creme Brulee French Toast
- 5 large eggs plus 2 yolks or 6 whole eggs
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or use more whole milk
- 1 Tbsp. dark rum or orange juice
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 loaf French bread sliced 1 inch thick, preferably stale (about 1 pound)
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, rum, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Pour onto a large rimmed baking sheet (about 11 by 17 inches with high sides). Place sliced bread onto sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let soak in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. Flip bread slices over once while they soak. You can do this halfway through the soaking, or about an hour before baking.
Heat oven to 375° F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and melted butter. Pour mixture onto another large rimmed baking sheet (or remove soaked bread to another baking sheet and rinse off the same one). Using a spatula, spread the brown sugar mixture into an even layer, covering the entire sheet.
Transfer soaked bread to sugared baking sheet, placing slices on top of the brown sugar mixture. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and sugar is bubbling.
Serve immediately while still hot, with the crunchy brown sugar side up (tops may seem moist at first, but will set up to a crispy layer as it cools). Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup and a side of fruit and lightly sweetened whipped cream.