Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Decadent Challah French Toast

Who doesn't love French toast? You'd think a child would like anything bathed in syrup and sprinkled with powdered sugar, but I used to hate it. Up until a few years ago, I had nothing to do with it. Then I saw a menu with raspberry-mascarpone stuffed French toast with an orange glaze, and I was SOLD. It was every bit as good as it sounds. From then on, I started making my own versions at home. Some turned out grand and others a bit gloppy or too eggy. This simple Challah version is one of my favorites. A rich cup of cream adds fluffiness to the centers of the bread, and then I bake it, which lets everyone eat at once.

Decadent Challah French Toast
Serves 4

2 cups half and half
2 large eggs
1 T sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of ground cardamom
pinch of salt

Whisk everything together in a bowl and let sit 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Slice 8 thick (1") pieces of Challah bread and squish them pretty closely together into a rimmed pan. Pour the milk-and-egg mixture over the bread slowly, covering all of the surface area.

Heat the oven to 350ยบ while the bread soaks. Flip the slices over after about 5 minutes, making sure each side is coated thoroughly. There should be a bit of liquid on the bottom of the pan, but it will soak into the bread after 10 minutes of resting.

Spray a sheet pan with nonstick spray (or butter it well), and place the bread slices on it, keeping them at least an inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip them over with a spatula. Bake 15 minutes more, until puffed in the centers and golden brown, then serve with butter, syrup and powdered sugar, if you like. To me, this French toast is perfect with plain syrup.

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