Ever have a craving that just won’t go away? These last few days, I had a hankering for orange zested and vanilla scented thick, custardy slices of challah French toast. I gave myself a few days for the cravings to dissipate, but by the 4th day, it was time to find some challah.
Fortunately, it seems as though every large American grocery store carries challah or brioche these days. You don’t need fancy or expensive bread for this - after all, we are going to toast, soak, and fry this all up. Yum.
This recipe makes enough French toast for 6 people. If you’re looking to scale down, I suggest 2 eggs plus 1/2 cup of milk for every two slices of challah cut 1-inch-thick. If you do make the whole batch, leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
I like to fry the challah slices in butter because I think it adds more flavor, but feel free to substitute oil instead. If you do use only butter, be careful to not burn or brown the butter - it might lead to blackened and undercooked French toast instead of golden brown, crispy, and custardy toast.
Challah French Toast with Orange Zest & Vanilla
Serves 6; Adapted from The Food Network
6 large eggs
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Zest of one orange, freshly zested
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or neutral flavored oil), for cooking
Maple syrup, for serving
Fresh berries or compote, for serving, optional
Baking sheet (for toasting the slices)
9 by 13-inch baking dish (for soaking the slices)
Large skillet (non-stick or cast-iron for cooking the slices)
Preheat oven to 300°F. Cut the challah into 1-inch thick slices. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet, and toast the slices (flipping halfway) for 10-15 minutes until crispy on both sides. Remove from oven, and let cool.
Make the custard: To the 9 by 13-inch baking dish, add the eggs, milk, maple syrup (or honey), vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest. Whisk until fully combined – there should be no streaks of egg.
Arrange the challah slices, in a single layer, into the custard (fit in as many slices as possible). Soak for 5 minutes (flipping once halfway).
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Once the butter sizzles, add the challah slices. Cook until each side is golden-brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining slices (adding more butter as necessary). Serve warm with maple syrup and/or fruit compote.
Note: If making a large batch, you can keep the French toast warm by arranging the cooked slices on a baking sheet, and placing it in a warm oven (250°F). Leftover French toast will keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days in an airtight container.
If you try any of my recipes, share on Instagram by using the hashtag #afsanaliza & tagging me at @afsana so I can see your creations ~