Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Breakfast - Crème Brûlée French Toast

One of the kids' favorite traditions is our Christmas morning breakfast.  
We go to midnight mass on Christmas Eve and try to sleep in on Christmas morning.  
Our traditional breakfast is apple sausage ring, scrambled eggs, Crème Brûlée French 
toast, and fresh squeezed orange juice.  
Every year Joel and the kids squeeze the orange juice and they have it down to an art.  
I love sitting back with a cup of coffee watching them do their thing.
I get to sit back and watch because every thing else was made the night before. 

The Crème Brûlée French Toast is such a special treat. 
It is rich, sweet and decadent.  
I found the recipe in Gourmet magazine and held onto it for years before I tried it.  
Underneath that layer of custard soaked bread is a sweet syrup.  
The syrup is just the perfect touch of 'Oh My Gosh!' 
As a mother and hostess, this is a great dish.  
It needs to be prepared they day before making Christmas morning a breeze.   

We pair the sweet french toast with a savory slice of this apple sausage ring.  
This is also prepared the night before.  
All we have to do Christmas morning is to bake, scramble and squeeze.  
This is the perfect breakfast for Christmas morning leaving plenty of time 
for opening presents and family time. 
The kids honestly talk about this breakfast all year long.  

Looks.  So.  Good. 

Today we are making the Crème Brûlée French Toast.  
I am using Grand Marnier.  
If you do not have it or do not wish to use alcohol, then orange juice is a great substitute.

      Board of Ingredients:
  • 1 Loaf of Country White Bread {I prefer not to use sourdough for this recipe}
  • Eggs
  • Half & Half
  • Vanilla
  • Grand Marnier
  • Salt
  • Butter
  • Brown Sugar 

The first step is making the syrup.
Start with a stick of butter.
I feel like I'm Ina or Paula.

Add the brown sugar.

Add the corn syrup.

Now, stir.  
Stir it over medium heat until you get a nice, smooth syrup.

Getting there...

Make sure you do not over cook this syrup.
As soon as it is smooth, take it off the heat.
Over cooking this means you will have caramel in the bottom of your dish the next day.

Pour the syrup into your baking dish.

Spread the syrup out over the bottom of the dish.

Now, slice the bread in once inch slices

Cut the crusts off too.
{Make sure all those bread crusts get make into bread crumbs!}

Lay the bread over the syrup layer in the pan.
I cut a few pieces of bread up and stick them in the cracks and corners.  
We want as much of that syrup covered with french toast as we can get.

Now, let's make the custard part of the french toast.
Start with some lovely eggs.

Add the half and half.

Add the vanilla, Grand Marnier or orange juice and salt.

Whisk until well combined.

Pour the custard over the bread.

Right now it looks like a mess.
Cover the pan and refrigerate until the morning.
When you pull it out in the morning, the custard will have soaked into the bread.

This is what is looks like in the morning.
All the custard has soaked into the bread.
Just throw it in the oven and wait for the ohhs and ahhs!

It comes out of the oven puffed and golden.
It's the perfect breakfast to make Christmas morning as special as it can be.
I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

Crème Brûlée French Toast


1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar2 tablespoons corn syrup
8- to 9-inch round loaf country-style bread
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon salt


1. In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish. 
2.  Cut six 1-inch thick slices from center portion of bread, reserving ends for another use, and trim crusts. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.
3.  In a bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. 
4.  Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
5.  Preheat oven to 350° F. and bring bread to room temperature.
6.  Bake bread mixture, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes.
7.  Let French toast rest for five minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

For a printer friendly version of this recipe click here.


  1. Looks like a good recipe and what a great Christmas breakfast -- ours is fruit on the sideboard and a stollen and/or Kringle. Yours is much nicer!

    1. Oh, we love Kringle. What a great Christmas morning breakfast. Thanks for commenting. :-)