It's like bread pudding minus the long soaking time and it even has the crunch that we all love so much from the caramelized sugar. It tends to get really crispy around the edges so if you use bread with a good amount of crust, I can guarantee you that you might never want to make the real bread pudding again. Unless you want to just whack the pan in the oven and forget about it for an hour or so rather than stand over the flaming stove absorbing as much heat as your toast then I understand. I really do.
I don't know if this is normal but my french toasts took a while to caramelize. I got impatient and one batch didn't have much crunchiness going on; in its place was a slight chewiness which isn't such a bad thing either really.
Tried a different angle!
For this special occasion I got my brother to heave the marble slab from its usual spot on the table to a place with better lighting to take today's pictures. And then I got my brother to put it back. I paid him in french toast.
Sugar-Crusted French Toast
by Dorie Greenspan (I love you!)
I think the secret to the divine custardy texture lies in the extra egg yolks and heavy cream. I cheated a little and cut back on the cream, replacing it with milk, and it's already good enough for me.
6 eggs + 3 egg yolks
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups cream
about 1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
6 slices (a scant inch thick) stale brioche or challah (I used normal white bread)
about 6 tbsp butter
Whisk the eggs, yolks, milk, cream, 2/3 cup of sugar, vanilla and salt together in a large baking pan. Add as many slices of bread as you can to the pan and allow the bread to soak for about 3 minutes on each side.
Place a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat and add about 2 tbsp of butter. When it melts and the bubbles subside, sprinkle the pan evenly with about 1 1/2 tbsp sugar and add as many slices of soaked bread as you can without crowding the pan. Cook the bread until it is deeply golden and crusty on the underside then sprinkle the tops of the slices with sugar to lightly coat them and carefully flip them over, cook until the second side is equally browned and crusty. Transfer to a platter, cover loosely with foil, and keep warm while you cook the remaining bread. Before adding more slices of soaked bread, wipe the pan clean and add fresh butter and sugar.