I always start thinking about my weekend brunch menu on Friday, don’t you? (Actually I totally don’t.. but you should!)
Of all the great things about the weekend, brunch has gotta be one of the best things. Superfluous-stuffed french toast, decked-out waffles, eggs benedicts (casually referred to as “bennies” these days) of every variety… I love it all. I have to say that I truly appreciate the American spirit of “more is better” in this particular case, because it means that on a typical weekend morning I don’t have to get frustrated with having to make a decision between two of my favorite breakfast foods; I can get all of my favorite breakfast foods rolled into one! i.e. bacon donuts, cereal crusted french toast, or yogurt and granola poured over waffles.
My encouragement for anyone new to navigating the brunch scene- save your calories during the week for epic brunching all weekend long! You will be so happy with this life choice.
This brunch recipe is my own creation inspired by the french crepe suzette. For anyone unfamiliar, crepe suzette a classic french recipe of crepes saturated in a sweet, buttery, orange-flavored sauce, hit with a shot or two of grand marnier for good measure. It is truly magnificent. But it may be even more magnificent served over french toast marinated in luscious grand marnier custard. You really have to be committed to intense orange flavor to love this recipe. Luckily I am SO committed and hence went out and purchased a bottle of grand marnier specifically to make this recipe. While in my opinion that was a good investment, if you’re not similarly inclined you could omit this ingredient and still be happy with the results. I might suggest adding a little bit of orange extract or orange juice concentrate to substitute.When making this recipe it makes sense to prepare the sauce a little ahead of time so that you can focus your attention on searing the french toast slices when the time comes. And then spoon the warm sauce all over the french toast once the slices of bread are prepared. You will not need any additional butter and syrup after you’ve doused the slices with the sauce. as the sauce basically works as a substitute for both.
Serve the french toast immediately and feel free to garnish with fruit. Orange is the logical choice, but strawberries worked very well (and I just can never get enough strawberries in my life).The texture of this french toast is perfectly pillow-y and moist. I love using brioche bread for french toast for this reason, although Challah would also work well I think. Make sure to slice your pieces of bread about 1 inch high and just briefly dunk into the custard sauce so they don’t get overly wet and completely fall apart.
Also a trick I found was to only use egg yolk in the custard and no egg white. This prevents a the custard from sitting on-top of the toast versus becoming absorbed and creating the weird fried-egg texture on the outside of the bread. This is also referred to as the “foot” on a french toast. You don’t want this (or at least I don’t). So just use yolks.
French Toast Suzette
_For the toast_
- 3 1- inch slices of brioche stale or toasted in the oven at 300 for about 8 minutes
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier optional
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1-2 oranges sliced, for garnish
- 4-5 strawberries sliced, for garnish
_For the sauce_
- 4 tablespoons butter
- Juice of 2 oranges or about 1/3 cup orange juice
- Zest of 1 orange About 1 tbsp
- 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
- 4 tablespoons sugar
To prepare the Suzette sauce
- Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.
- Combine all other ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup. Whisk together thoroughly.
- When butter is melted, turn off the heat (for safety) and pour mixture into the butter. Turn heat back on to medium. Feel free to flambe if you are adventurous, but for those of us who don't want to set fire to the kitchen by accident, just simmer until the alcohol evaporates and your sauce begins to develop big bubbles and is slightly caramelized.
To prepare the french toast
- Heat milk on the stove. Whisk in butter until it is melted and turn off the heat. Temper egg yolks by adding a small amount of warm milk and whisking well. Pour egg yolk mixture into milk. Add sugar and Grand Marnier and whisk until well-combined. Pour into small baking dish to use for soaking the bread.
- Using cooking spray or oil to prepare a non-stick skillet; turn on heat- medium. Meanwhile soak bread briefly in custard, lightly on each side. Soak until bread is just soaked through- about 10 seconds per side. No need to press down or get bread overly saturated or it will fall apart.
- Sear bread, one at a time, until both sides are golden-brown.
- Serve french toast with sliced oranges, strawberries, and a generous spoonful of the suzette sauce poured over the bread.