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Recipe

Farmhouse French Toast with Backyard Berry Syrup

Alexandra Grablewski

Servings: 4 or 5

Challah bread soaked in a tasty custard and griddled to order is sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and drizzled with a warm syrup of lightly cooked black raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. Serve this French toast on a summer Sunday morning, and all is right with the world.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature if possible
  • 1-1/4 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 8 or 9 3/4-inch-thick slices Challah bread (from a 1-lb. loaf, slightly stale is fine)
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup fresh ripe summer berries (including diced strawberries, whole raspberries or black raspberries, and blueberries or small blackberries)

Preparation

  • In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and 1 Tbs. of the sugar. Set aside.
  • In a large, shallow mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and the remaining sugar until well combined. Add the half-and-half, 1 Tbs. of the maple syrup, the vanilla, salt, and nutmeg. Whisk again until well combined.
  • Submerge two or three slices of the bread (whatever will fit into the bowl and into your skillet in one batch) in the egg custard to soak for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbs. butter in a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot and the butter is foaming, add the coated bread slices to the skillet. Cook without moving until the bottom is a mottled golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully turn the bread pieces over and cook on the other side until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to warm plates and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar if desired, or transfer to an oven-proof platter if keeping warm, and don’t add cinnamon sugar until serving. Leave the skillet off the heat for a minute. Put two to three more pieces of bread in the custard to soak.
  • Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup of the maple syrup and a third of the berries in a small skillet. Mash some of the berries with the back of a fork while the syrup is heating. When the syrup is bubbling and the fruit is warmed through and releasing its juices (2 to 3 minutes), pour it over the slices of cooked French toast and serve. (Don’t let the syrup bubble for long or it will start reducing.) Reserve the syrup skillet.
  • Return the large skillet to medium heat, add another 1 Tbs. butter, and cook the second batch of soaked bread. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar if desired. Make the second batch of berry syrup and pour over the toast. Repeat with the third and last batch of bread and syrup.

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