" While You Were Sleeping" Wake Up and Smell the French Toast!

Looking for a treat for breakfast or brunch? Whip up a batch of this delicious french toast and you'll feel satisfied all day!


  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup fresh fruit, your choice of blackberries, mulberries, peaches or green apples cut in 1/2" slices
  • 2 large loaves challah bread
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Lightly whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the half-and-half, vanilla bean, orange zest, cinnamon, cardamom, Grand Marnier and salt. Whisk again to combine the ingredients, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until use, preferably overnight to allow the flavors to meld together.

2. Melt the butter in a 14-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat; add maple syrup and brown sugar and cook stirring often, until the mixture begins to bubble and the sugar melts. Turn off the heat and arrange the fruit over the brown sugar mixture. Cut the bread into 1 1/2" slices, trimming the crust from the bread. Place the bread in an overlapping pattern over the fruit, pressing down lightly.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread and bake uncovered on the center oven rack until puffed and golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.

4. Allow the French toast to cool ten minutes on a rack in the pan. Carefully invert the French toast onto an ovenproof serving platter which is larger than the cast iron skillet. (If desired prior to serving, the French toast may be caramelized further by either placing the French toast back into the oven under the broiler for a couple of minutes or by using a kitchen torch.)

5. Serve the French toast by slicing pie-wedge servings for each person, topped with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream, and a cup of coffee. Delicious!

Serves 6

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