I debated over joining Shawnda and Ashley in Project Pastry Queen solely because of this recipe.  I hemmed. And hawed.  And hemmed some more.   See, recipes like this one aren’t really Weight Watchers-friendly.  And that makes it difficult to stick with the plan…especially when recipes like this one call for 4 cups of heavy cream. Yikes!

And it took a little tweaking to make this recipe one that I could really enjoy in more than a 1/4 cup serving.  You’ll see the changes I made below but you can check out Josie’s blog for the original recipe.  But overall, we were really so pleased with how the dish turned out.  This was truly such a treat to have for breakfast and we’re both thrilled that there are 3 more servings left over!  I had some trouble caramelizing the sugar since I don’t have a kitchen torch and didn’t want to risk the broiler.  We do have this little torch that we use to light the grill and I’m not sure if it’s meant to be used as a kitchen torch but I used it anyway.  And it didn’t work so well.  But this breakfast was great regardless and my lack of torch skills seemed to only have a minimal effect on the taste overall.

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Crème Brûlée French Toast
source: Rebecca Rather, The Pastry Queen

3/4 large loaf of challah bread
7 large egg yolks
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Grease a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish.  Slice the challah into 1/2-inch slices, then into cubes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cream, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and butter.

Scatter about 1/4 of the bread cubes in the bottom of the dish, then pour 1/4 of the custard over them, pressing the bread cubes down to be sure they are soaked.  Repeat once more, pressing the mixture down between the layers.  Cover the casserole dish with foil and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Place the casserole inside a larger baking dish, and fill the larger baking dish halfway with boiling water.  Bake 1 1/2 hours, or until the top is light brown and set.

Sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar, and place under the broiler or use a kitchen torch to melt the sugar and brown the top.  The sugar will harden as it cools in about 3-5 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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  • July 25, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    I loved how baked French toast looks when it’s sliced – it’s like all the cubes join together to make a really thick piece of bread.

    I’m going to try your version because the original is definitely a little rich for breakfast.

  • July 25, 2010 at 10:53 PM

    i’ve been tossing around the idea of cooking my way through this cookbook for well over a year, and its recipes like this one that are the exact reason why i put it off as well. i worked hard last year to lose 25lbs and these sorts of treats are not exactly waistline friendly. i’m still a bit concerned about cooking our way through the book 🙂

    yours turned out great!

  • July 26, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    I make it similar without the torch looks delicious

  • August 10, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    For pete’s sake! 2 of my favorite things…combined!

  • NewportButane.com
    June 28, 2018 at 7:09 AM

    Creme brulee and french toast are my favorite. This is really worth trying, and i will definitely use my kitchen butane torch.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Jane @ NewportButane.com

    • Tara
      June 28, 2018 at 1:01 PM

      Hope you love it!!

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