If you have it, choose Challah for this custardy-soft-on-the-inside french toast — though any high-quality, white or light wheat bread will do. Cut thick slices — about 1/2 to 3/4 inch. Be sure to allow the bread to soak in the egg mixture for several seconds on each side — this is key to achieving the custardy texture. Fry the decadent slices in butter — they turn out golden-brown and loaded with flavor. This is not the moment to skimp. Save virtue for another day.
The basic version is traditional. Simple, yet rich. We’ve topped it with fresh berry syrup, though you could easily use ordinary maple syrup (the real thing, please) or powdered sugar and fruit preserves. The second toast is perked up with the tiniest hint of chai spice — cinnamon and cardamom. Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with maple syrup.
Ingredients for Syrup:
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup mixed berries (such as raspberries or blackberries)
- 2 tablespoons raspberry jam
- Ingredients for Toast:
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 8 slices challah or similar bread, cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices
- Place syrup, berries and jam in a small saucepan. Warm gently over low heat for about 10 minutes, mashing berries as they soften. Stir frequently and lower heat if liquid begins to splatter or boil. Turn off heat.
- Beat eggs and half-and-half together. Place into a shallow dish, large enough to accommodate bread slices.
- Heat a griddle over medium. Melt some butter to cover the pan. About a tablespoon for two slices of bread. Place a bread slice into the egg mixture. Allow it to sit and soak up the custard for a few seconds, then turn over and soak the other side. Place on the griddle. Repeat with as many slices as will fit on the griddle at one time. Turn bread as the first side reaches a golden-brown color (about 1 or 2 minutes). Cook on the second side. Remove and place on a platter. Keep warm in a low oven as other slices are cooked.
- Serve with butter (as desired) and warm berry syrup.
Add 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom to the egg mixture. Mix well. Prepare toast as directed and serve dusted with powdered sugar and pure maple syrup.