Lately I've had a hankering for french toast, but not a ton of time (or patience) in the morning to make it happen. You have to soak the eggy bread in custard, you have to fry it on the stove, you have to fix the other side dishes that balance out the meal, you have to heat the syrup, etc. etc. etc. Who has time for that when every day you spend a an hour negotiating with your alarm clock for just five more minutes? So what does one do when they need a bright spot in a week of monotony, but very little time in the morning to make that happen? They fall in love with a make-ahead recipe like this one for Lemon Brioche French Toast with a fresh helping of minty-fresh raspberries on the side. Hello, bright spot.
This recipe is a citrus lover's dreaaaam. There's lemon zest in the custard mixture, then another hit in the freshly-squeezed lemon juice glaze.
What's lovely about this baked version of french toast is the pillowy-soft consistency (almost like bread pudding) of the inner filling, mixed with a little bit of crispiness from the crusty top layer. And what better complement to the sweetness of the lemon brioche than the fresh, slightly tart macerated raspberries with mint? It's tasty, and your breath will never smell better in your whole life.
This is a breakfast recipe for those bakers out there that love to plan ahead, like myself. Anything that can cut my overall time even the slightest bit, I'm willing to do. The make-ahead factor of this recipe is what makes it a total keeper: this dish can be made 24 whole hours in advance, and, if you ask me, the longer it sits in the fridge, the better it actually becomes! Overall prep time the night before is probably around 20-30 minutes, then cook time the next morning is around 20-30 minutes, making total time an hour MAXIMUM. Fab, right? Imagine what you can get done while your french toast is baking in the oven? We're talkin' bacon, we're talkin' eggs, we're talkin' the works, people. I seriously can't say enough great things about it. Oh wait, there's one more: leftovers reheat PERFECTLY. So don't feel guilty if it's just you enjoying a special breakfast for yourself; there's no need to waste a thing. If you play your cards right, you could have a special breakfast almost every day of the week. And breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you know.
Have it for brunch, or have it on a regular old Monday. Either way, you're on your way to a baked breakfast of champions.
LEMON-BRIOCHE FRENCH TOAST W/ MINTY RASPBERRIES
What You'll Need:
(For the French Toast)
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
(For the Minty-Raspberries)
- 12 ounces raspberries, lightly washed and inspected
- 3 tablespoons sugar, plus more if adjustment is needed
- 1/4 cup loosely-packed mint leaves
*If you're making it ahead*
Grease well a 9 x 13 pan with butter, then set aside.
Slice the bread into 1/2 inch thick slices, then cut each slice in half. Next, take half of the bread slices and lay them in the baking sheet, making sure that there are overlapping layers. Sprinkle the bread slices with half of the lemon zest.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the brown sugar. Whisk until the ingredients are well combined. Next, whisk in the milk, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, and the rest of the lemon zest. Pour half of the custard mixture over the bread in the prepared baking dish, then layer the rest of the bread on top. Evenly pour the rest of the custard mixture over the bread to coat it.
Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, take the casserole out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before baking.
*If you're making it the same day*
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Do all of the instructions above.
When ready, bake the lemon brioche french toast for 20-30 minutes (make sure to check on it every so often because the crust of the bread tends to darken quite quickly), or until golden brown on top and puffy.
While the french toast is baking, whisk the lemon juice with the confectioners' sugar. Once you have taken the french toast out of the oven, immediately drizzle the glaze evenly over the top. Next, add a few extra teaspoons of confectioners' sugar to a fine strainer or shaker and add a light dusting over the top of the casserole.
Let the dish cool for at least 15 minutes before serving,
*While the dish is cooling*
Add the raspberries to a medium-sized bowl, then add the sugar and fresh chopped mint. Gently mix together, then let sit for 5 minutes so that the raspberries have a chance to release their juices. Add more sugar if the raspberries are still a little tart.
Serve the french toast in large slices, with raspberries on the side.
To store: Cover the dish in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature for 10 minutes before reheating in the oven.
SOURCE: Slightly adapted from The Kitchn