Who doesn’t love French toast? I don’t know any of these people either. And when given a preference between pancakes, waffles, or French Toast, both of us have always answered French Toast! Regular French Toast is great and all, but have you tried adding a nice crunchy coating with thick slices of buttery Brioche bread??? If not, this is your sign that you must make this Crunchy Brioche French Toast with Orange Curd and Spiked Orange Chocolate Sauce asap!
The perfect brunch recipe for special occasions!
This recipe is always a family favorite, especially around special occasions that involve a nice big brunch spread like Mothers Day and Fathers Day.
We are not talking about simply slapping a piece of white bread into an egg and milk mixture, frying it up, and dousing it with syrup! This is gourmet French Toast to die for, and the special people in your life deserve this at least one day a year (but generally more often)! The orange curd, Grand Marnier chocolate sauce, and Mascarpone Whipped Cream are the toppings, with a nice, sweet slice of orange added for a refreshing touch.
Making Crunchy Brioche French Toast
Making this version of French Toast is overall very easy, but the result is so beautiful and elevated that you will feel like you are dining at a bougie brunch spot! The key to getting the toast just right is to use a reliable nonstick skillet to make sure that the crunchy layer stays on the toast rather than sticking to your pan.
Since we are using super thick slices of Brioche, we generally make one or two slices at a time, so that each one comes out perfectly toasty brown and crunchy. So we use our 10-in or 12-in nonstick fry pans for this.
The orange curd is a favorite around here, and if you can find cara-cara oranges, or blood oranges, they are the ones to use! These varieties are a bit sweeter than regular oranges and are so lovely in the curd. But any orange will work just fine for this curd.
The mascarpone cream, flavored with vanilla, is a bit richer and more dense than simple whipped cream and has a great flavor. Leftovers can be combined with strawberries or any fruit later for a great dessert!
Finally, there is the chocolate sauce. It’s simple enough but with a small addition of orange liqueur. (we used Grand Marnier). Although barely noticeable in the final chocolate sauce, the orange liqueur really does spruce up the basic sauce with a hint of orange to complement the other toppings.
We hope you enjoy this version of Crunchy Brioche French Toast! If you give it a try, leave us a comment below, or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!
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Crunchy Brioche French Toast with Orange Curd, Chocolate Sauce and Mascarpone Whipped Cream
For the French Toast
- 4 slices Brioche* – 1” thick each
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch nutmeg
- Pinch kosher salt
- ½ cups crushed corn flakes (see note)
- 4 tablespoon butter (or more as needed)
- 2 oranges, sliced with the peel cut off entirely
- 2 eggs
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- ⅓ cup fresh orange juice
- 4 tablespoon butter
Chocolate Sauce with Orange Liqueur
- 1 oz cocoa powder
- 3 oz sugar
- Pinch kosher salt
- 5 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon water
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Benedictine, or Grand Gala)
- ¼ cup crème fraîche or sour cream
Vanilla Mascarpone Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup mascarpone
- ½ cup confectioners sugar
Prepare the Orange Curd** (make in advance - see note)
- Combine eggs, salt, sugar, zest, and orange juice in a metal or glass bowl that can be used as a double boiler (or bain-marie). Whisk for a couple of minutes or until the egg mixture becomes pale and combined. The mixture should be smooth. Place the bowl over a small saucepan of simmering (not hard boiling) water and continue to whisk.
- When the mixture starts to warm and loosen, start adding the butter, a piece or two at a time for the first two times, whisking constantly. When all the butter is added and incorporated, keep whisking until it thickens (about 5-10 minutes). The mixture should NEVER boil during this process!
- Once thickened, remove from the heat and strain through a sieve into a storage container and let it cool. Extra curd will keep for about two weeks in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.
Prepare the Chocolate Sauce** (make in advance - see note)
- Sift the cocoa powder into a medium bowl and set aside.
- Combine the sugar, salt, and water in a saucepan and whisk over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Next, bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and immediately pour the sugar mixture over the bowl of cocoa powder whisking to combine.
- Return the entire contents to the saucepan and whisk in the orange liqueur over medium heat. Continue to whisk and add the crème fraîche or sour cream. Heat until it just starts to bubble, then remove to a container to cool at room temperature.
Prepare the Vanilla Mascarpone Cream
- In a mixing bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
- Add mascarpone, confectioners sugar, and vanilla extract and mix on low until just combined, thick and light light whipped cream. Be careful to not over beat the cream or it will begin to separate.
- Keep the whipped cream in the fridge until the french toast is ready to serve.
Make the French Toast
- Combine the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Lay out ¼ of the crushed corn flakes on a plate. Using a pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium to medium-low heat. Dip the bread into the milk mixture and soak for a few seconds, flip, and dip again. Don't soak for too long or the bread will fall apart. Let the excess liquid drip off the bread then gently and immediately transfer it to the corn flakes. Coat the bread with the crushed corn flakes on both sides.
- Next, carefully add the bread to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes per side or until browned. Add small amounts of additional butter as necessary to promote browning of the cornflakes. Remove to a sheet tray and repeat with the other three pieces of bread, wiping the pan as needed so you don’t end up with burned corn flakes.
- These can be served immediately with the garnishes as desired or can be kept warm on a sheet tray in a 185°F oven for up to an hour before serving.
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