Crème Brûlée French Toast

With a crackling, caramelized brown sugar topping, these custardy slices of French toast resemble crème brûlée. Start them soaking the night before, then pop them in the oven in the morning for one of the most decadent brunches imaginable. Even better, you can bake a pan of bacon at the same time. Just keep your eye on it; depending upon its thickness, the bacon might be done a few minutes sooner than the French toast. Then serve the French toast with more of the pan syrup spooned on top. But skip the maple syrup, which would be overkill.


  • 5 large eggs plus 2 yolks (or 6 whole eggs)
  • 2 ¼ cups whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream (or use more milk)
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum or orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 loaf challah bread, sliced 1 inch thick, preferably stale (about 1 pound)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

      721 calories; 35 grams fat; 19 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 10 grams monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 77 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 42 grams sugars; 18 grams protein; 332 milligrams cholesterol; 526 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

6 to 8 servings


  1. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, rum, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Spread bread out in 1 layer on a large rimmed baking sheet (about 11 by 17 inches). Pour custard over bread, cover with plastic wrap, and let soak in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. Flip bread slices over once while they soak. This can be halfway through the soaking, or about an hour before baking, whichever is more convenient.
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar and butter. Pour mixture onto another large rimmed baking sheet, using a spatula if necessary to spread into an even layer.
  3. Transfer soaked bread to sugared baking sheet, placing slices on top of the brown sugar mixture. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and sugar is bubbling.
  4. Serve immediately while still hot, with the crunchy brown sugar side up, spooning more of pan syrup over the top.

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