Orange crème brûlée french toasts

I’ve been dreaming of this Crème brûlée french toast recipe since I last checked out Smitten Kitchen’s site.  So, since we were in Geneva this weekend, I decided to try my hand making this recipe.  With time on our hands during the weekend if we are staying in, meals have to be planned in advanced as everything (stores and supermarkets) shut down on Sundays.  Tomorrow is a public holiday here in Geneva, so the stores are closed as well.  I guess life can be pretty good here but not for me (the shopaholic) as I thrive on having things to do, places to go for shopping or to hang out at.

After crawling out of bed, we eventually got busy in our test kitchen, all ready to tackle this new take on french toast for our Sunday brunch.  I love anything with citrus in my sweets so we tweaked the recipe a little and I went heavy-handed on the orange zest!

Crème Brûlée French Toasts [Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen]

Makes 4 servings

  • Toasts: 1 loaf unsliced white bread, brioche or rich bread of your choice (we used 4 pieces)
  • 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of fine sea salt or table salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Cut bread into 1 1/2-inch thick, generous slices. Whisk together milk, cream, eggs, sugar, salt, orange zest and vanilla extract. Set custard batter aside.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Arrange bread slices on the smallest rimmed tray that will fit them in one layer (encourages maximum absorption) pour custard over slices. Allow them to absorb the custard for 30 minutes, turning the slices over at one point to ensure they’re soaking it up evenly. [Do ahead: You can also soak them overnight in the fridge. No need to flip them if so.]

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer custard-soaked slices to prepared sheet, arranging them with a smidge of space between each to avoid making one French mega-toast. Flipping them halfway through if you wish, bake French toast slices for 30 to 35 minutes, until a slim knife inserted into the center of a slice and twisted ever-so-slightly does not release any wet custard. Keep warm until ready to serve.

To serve: I veered from the original recipe of caramelizing the top.  Instead, I decorated the toasts with dusting sugar and topped with berries of the season.

I must have taken like close to 100 shots for this post before eventually deciding on using these pics.  As you can tell, I’m trying to dress up my creations and food-styling sure is tough.  I wonder how blog-friends : the fab R from the Pleasure Monger and the talented Sherie from Maameemoomoo does it.  Mental note to self: need to ask them them how they make food styling look so sexy when I meet them in person. 😉

This recipe is definitely for keeps.  Looking forward to better it the next time round we have our lazy Sunday brunch!

10 thoughts on “Orange crème brûlée french toasts

  1. The Pleasure Monger says:

    Excuse me, madame, these look so delish and you are making me very hungry – no fair!! Anyway, food styling comes with practice, I didn’t have a clue to how I should do it, but I practised with everything I cooked/baked, and now I’m getting the hang of it! I’m still trying to get it right! Can’t wait for our lobster noodle lunch next week!!

    • Lady J says:

      Haha… you are too kind with your words my dear. Just so you know, I look to your food styling for inspiration ;). You always manage to dress up what you cook so ‘sexily’, it’s pure magic! I can’t wait for our meet-up next week as well! Mad excited!

    • Lady J says:

      I hear that if you want your french toasts crispy, you can pop it in the oven. Baking it does not mess up my kitchen which is why I like baking these days. Not sure about being a nifty cook.. hopefully!

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