Maple Rosemary French Toast with Vanilla Crème Fraîche

By • March 24, 2012 • 31 Comments


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Author Notes: Last weekend my husband and I had a delicious brunch of Duck Confit Hash and Rosemary French Toast with Vanilla Crème Fraîche served with maple syrup at the restaurant Accanto. Both dishes were delicious, and I knew I wanted to create my own version of the French toast. The original was made with a chewy crusted Italian bread, and I prefer a soft challah. I also was hoping for a little more rosemary flavor, so I infused the custard with rosemary as well as sprinkled a little atop the finished dish. I favor using a yolk only custard to minimize any "eggy" flavor in the French toast. Here's what I came up with. Both of us were quite happy to have this as a decadent supper mid-week!hardlikearmour

Food52 Review: I'll take any excuse for a decadent mid-week breakfast, especially one that so expertly plays with sweet and savory. The extra step of infusing the rosemary into the milk of the custard was nothing short of genius—every bite delivered that heavenly aroma, rounded out beautifully by the vanilla. The maple syrup facilitated a crunchy, caramel-y exterior, and the crème fraîche offered the perfect cool and creamy counterpoint to the rich toast. One suggestion: I would add a couple egg whites to the custard for some lightness. Even after 10 minutes in the pan, the center was still pretty milky. lisina

Serves 4 very generous servings, or 8 "side dish" servings

  • 1 Loaf challah bread
  • 8 to 9 inch fresh rosemary stem
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 2/3 cups crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus additional for frying the toast
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, plus more for serving
  • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 Egg yolks
  1. The night before, cut the heels off of the challah, then cut the loaf into 8 3/4-inch thick slices. Use the heels and any remaining bread for another purpose. Arrange the bread on a wire rack and leave out overnight to dry out. (If you didn't plan ahead, don't fret -- you can also dry the bread on a wire rack set over a sheet pan in a 300ºF oven. It will take about 18 minutes, flipping the bread midway. You don't want it to be dried throughout, the bread should still have a little "give." Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes before using it.)
  2. Preheat oven to 200º F. Place a wire rack on a sheet pan, and set it in the oven. Warm 4 large or 8 medium plates in the oven as well if desired. Strip the bottom 3 inches of leaves off the rosemary, and set them aside. Combine the milk, half-and-half, and rosemary stem in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium to 180 to 185ºF, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and use a fork to fish the rosemary out. Add 2 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces, to the mixture.
  3. While the butter is melting and the mixture is cooling slightly, combine the crème fraîche and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract in a small bowl. Whisk to combine thoroughly, then refrigerate until ready to serve. It will thicken slightly as it cools. Finely mince the rosemary, and set aside.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and the salt to the milk mixture. Whisk to combine. Add the egg yolks, and whisk again until the mixture is homogenous. Transfer the mixture to a flat 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish.
  5. Soak half of the bread slices in the custard for 40 to 45 seconds, flipping the slices midway. The bread should be saturated, but not tearing or disintegrating. Remove the bread from the custard using a slotted spatula. Allow excess custard to drain back into the pan, then transfer the soaked slices to a platter or sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining slices. The bread will sop up most if not all of the custard.
  6. Heat a 10 to 12-inch non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes. Coat the bottom of the pan with 1 to 2 teaspoons of butter. Once butter has stopped sputtering, add 2 slices of toast. Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the wire rack in the oven, and repeat the process until all the toast is cooked.
  7. While the last 2 pieces are cooking set up your plating station. Arrange your plates in a convenient configuration. Pour about 1 quarter cup of maple syrup into a small pitcher or liquid measure. Place the minced rosemary and crème fraîche in a convenient location.
  8. Plating the dish: arrange 1 to 2 slices on each plate. Drizzle each serving with maple syrup (about 1/2 tablespoon per slice.) Sprinkle French toast with minced rosemary (you may not use it all.) Top each serving with a dollop of crème fraîche (you should use all of it.)
  9. Serve immediately, passing additional maple syrup if desired (though it really doesn't need it.)

Comments (31) Questions (0)

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11 months ago Simply called food

I'm definitely having that this week-end!

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11 months ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I hope you tried and liked it!

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about 1 year ago Geoffrey Rogg

More, more, please!

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11 months ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

LOL!

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over 1 year ago EmilyC

How have I missed this? It looks and sounds amazing -- I hope to try it this weekend. You could tell me to put rosemary in anything and I would, based on how much I love your rosemary pecan caramels and pear rosemary danish! : )

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over 1 year ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Aww, thanks! I'm kind of a sucker for rosemary in sweet applications. It's pine-like edge really adds a lovely dimension!

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over 1 year ago lapadia

Love this twist on french toast and your photo is so enticing!

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over 1 year ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Why, thank you! You're too kind.

Moi_1

over 1 year ago QueenSashy

Love the pairing of vanilla and rosemary!

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over 1 year ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I take no credit, but they make a good pair!

Dsc00426

about 2 years ago vvvanessa

Yum! I can't wait to go back to Accanto, but I'd rather have your version of their french toast : )

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about 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, tripleV! Brunch at Accanto was delicious. We went after doing the 15K Shamrock Run so had zero guilt about indulging. We also got an order of the ricotta doughnuts with lemon curd.

Dsc00426

about 2 years ago vvvanessa

Well, we participated in no such running nonsense and got the ricotta doughnuts anyway! : )

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about 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Then you missed out on the coolest finisher medal ever - a bottle opener in the shape of a glass of beer!

Dsc00426

about 2 years ago vvvanessa

We would have gladly met you at the finish line with beers to open with you sweet new bottle opener!

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about 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wow, this is making me hungry.

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about 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, drbabs! It's definitely worth being hungry for ;-)

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about 2 years ago wssmom

Oh my. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner!

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about 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you, kindly! Would that make it a brunchner dish?

Mrs._larkin_370

about 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

oh, this sounds awesome! We love breakfast for dinner. Well done, hla.

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about 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, mrsL!

Stringio

about 2 years ago lakelurelady

Decadent indeed. Breaking all the rules for dinner is so accepted in my book. For some reason cooking breakfast for dinner makes me feel like the meal is easy. Go figure. Great recipe.

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about 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you! Even as a kid I was happy to have breakfast for supper.

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about 2 years ago gingerroot

This sounds delicious. Wish I'd had some for breakfast this morning!

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about 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Me too! Uploading it this morning definitely led to a craving!

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about 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

You're making this for me next time we get together. I am serious. No getting out of it.

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about 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Okay! I promise I'll make it for you!

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about 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Love this, french toast has always been one of my favorites and I really like the use of the egg yolk rather than the whole egg. Can't think of a better vehicle for the maple syrup than this.

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about 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, sdebrango! I'm a huge French toast lover. My husband is more of a pancake fan.

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about 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I've always been french toast rather than pancakes even waffles more than pancakes love this and will be making it most definitely

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about 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I'd love to get your opinion on it if you do get a chance to try it out! And you reminded me I need to make some Belgian waffles from Lieges this week end!