In college I was lucky enough to live close to my parents (I grew up in Ann Arbor, where the University of Michigan is located), and therefore had home cooking at my disposal. After graduating and making the move to NYC, however, those visits are less frequent, and I find myself missing what I once took for granted, particularly my dad’s French toast. Ina Garten’s recipe is very similar to our go-to, with a few added ingredients, namely honey and orange zest, which take the flavor to the next level. Considering that I ate the majority of this 7-tiered cake of French toast, it’s probably best I live a plane ride away from home. Recipe is below the pictures-enjoy!!
- 6 extra-large egg
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or milk
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon good honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large loaf challah or brioche bread
- Unsalted butter
- Vegetable oil
- Pure maple syrup
- Good raspberry preserves (optional)
- Sifted confectioners’ sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
1. In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, orange zest, vanilla, honey, and salt. Slice the challah in 3/4-inch thick slices. Soak as many slices in the egg mixture as possible for 5 minutes, turning once.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a very large saute pan over medium heat. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Place the cooked French toast on a sheet pan and keep it warm in the oven. Fry the remaining soaked bread slices, adding butter and oil as needed, until it’s all cooked. Serve hot with maple syrup, raspberry preserves, and/or confectioners’ sugar.