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Almond Crusted French Toast with Cranberry Maple Sauce

Almond Crusted French Toast with Cranberry Maple Sauce

The essence of almond and orange baked into slices of creamy, custard-soaked Challah bread topped with toasted almonds swirled in a maple syrup. Then we serve it with a warm cranberry maple sauce – because it’s the holidays!

A number of years ago several women in my family came to the conclusion that since they were cooking they would decide when we would eat the Thanksgiving meal. Okay, to be transparent – those women included my Mom, my daughter Emily and myself.

In the kitchen with my Mom and my “sister from a different Mother” and dear friend Pat!

But to be kind to our dining companions we also felt it was only fair to feed them a little something to tide them over until the main event. Let’s face it the holidays are stressful. Expectations are high, we’re exhausted and visions of the perfect “airbrushed turkey” on every food magazine are taunting us. So in the spirit of allowing just a little time to relax we frequently turn to “make-ahead” breakfast dishes. And this one won’t disappoint. A beautiful loaf of Challah bread, sliced then dipped into an egg custard with notes of almond and orange.

An overnight soak then it’s baked along with a buttery maple syrup topping chock-full of crunchy almonds.

But no need to stop there. Serve it with a vibrant cranberry maple sauce bright with a splash of fresh orange juice and just a tang from those cranberries.

Incredible for brunch and even grand enough for dessert – your guests will be happy to wait on the turkey!

Almond Crusted French Toast with Cranberry Maple Sauce

For the base:

6 extra large eggs

2 cups half and half

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

¼ cup sugar

Zest of one large orange, about 1 teaspoon

½ teaspoon pure almond extract

½ teaspoon orange extract

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 large loaf Challah bread, cut into slices about 1” thick – about 12 slices

For the almond topping:

4 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

½ cup dark brown sugar

1 cup toasted slivered almonds, chopped

For the cranberry maple sauce:

1-1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 twelve-ounce package fresh cranberries, about 4 cups – rinsed and sorted

Juice of one orange, about ¼ cup

½ teaspoon pure almond extract

For the custard base:

In a large bowl combine the eggs, half and half, maple syrup, sugar, orange zest, almond extract, orange extract and kosher salt. Whisk together until the eggs are well blended into the mixture.

Dip each slice of bread into the egg custard then place them in a 13” x 9” baking dish, that has been lightly coated with a cooking spray. Overlap the slices as needed so they fit into the pan. Pour the remaining custard over the bread. Cover the pan and refrigerate overnight.

About 45 minutes before baking remove the French toast from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, make the topping.

For the almond topping:

In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup and toasted pecans, stirring to combine.

To assemble and bake:

Spoon the sauce over the bread, spreading the toasted almonds evenly across the bread slices.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes in a 350-degree oven or until the custard is baked. If the top of the bread starts to brown too quickly, just cover the pan loosely with foil.

Let the French toast rest for about 10 minutes to set before serving.

While the French toast bakes, make the cranberry maple sauce:

Pour the maple syrup and the orange juice into a saucepan. Add the cranberries and cook over medium heat until most of the berries have popped and are softened, about 15 minutes.

Remove the cranberry mixture from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Stir in the almond extract.

The cranberry maple sauce can be made 3 to 5 days in advance. Serve warm over the Almond Crusted French Toast.

Serves 8.

Almond Crusted French Toast with Cranberry Maple Sauce, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

November 16, 2018
: Serves 8.

The essence of almond and orange baked into slices of creamy, custard-soaked Challah bread, topped with toasted almonds swirled in a maple sauce. Then we serve it with a warm cranberry maple sauce.

By:

Ingredients
  • For the base:
  • 6 extra large eggs
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Zest of one large orange, about 1 teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large loaf Challah bread, cut into slices about 1” thick – about 12 slices
  • For the almond topping:
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup toasted slivered almonds, chopped
  • For the cranberry maple sauce:
  • 1-1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 twelve-ounce package fresh cranberries, about 4 cups – rinsed and sorted
  • Juice of one orange, about ¼ cup
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
Directions
  • Step 1 For the custard base:
  • Step 2 In a large bowl combine the eggs, half and half, maple syrup, sugar, orange zest, almond extract, orange extract and kosher salt. Whisk together until the eggs are well blended into the mixture.
  • Step 3 Dip each slice of bread into the egg custard then place them in a 13” x 9” baking dish, that has been lightly coated with a cooking spray. Overlap the slices as needed so they fit into the pan. Pour the remaining custard over the bread. Cover the pan and refrigerate overnight.
  • Step 4 About 45 minutes before baking remove the French toast from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, make the topping.
  • Step 5 For the almond topping:
  • Step 6 In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup and toasted pecans, stirring to combine.
  • Step 7 To assemble and bake:
  • Step 8 Spoon the sauce over the bread, spreading the toasted almonds evenly across the bread slices.
  • Step 9 Bake 45 to 50 minutes in a 350-degree oven or until the custard is baked. If the top of the bread starts to brown too quickly, just cover the pan loosely with foil.
  • Step 10 Let the French toast rest for about 10 minutes to set before serving.
  • Step 11 While the French toast bakes, make the cranberry maple sauce:
  • Step 12 Pour the maple syrup and the orange juice into a saucepan. Add the cranberries and cook over medium heat until most of the berries have popped and are softened, about 15 minutes.
  • Step 13 Remove the cranberry mixture from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Stir in the almond extract.
  • Step 14 The cranberry maple sauce can be made 3 to 5 days in advance.
  • Step 15 Serve warm over the Almond Crusted French Toast.


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