“In Madrid, torrijas [Spanish french toast] are traditionally reserved for Easter as a post-Lenten dessert and traditionally made with leftover baguettes. I like to use brioche or other egg breads, such as challah, for an even richer dessert. The custard-soaked egg bread develops a delicate lushness that resembles bread pudding. I like to take it even one step further by bruléeing sugar on top for a crunchy crust. It actually tempers the cinnamon custard’s sweetness because burnt sugar takes on a bittersweet edge. This dessert-for-brunch dish beats any typical french toast.”
Curate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen by Katie Button with Genevieve Ko. Photography by Evan Sung. Copyright © 2016 by Katie Button with Genevieve Ko. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books.
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half and half
Zest of 1 lemon, removed in strips with a vegetable peeler
Zest of 1 orange, removed in strips with a vegetable peeler
1 cinnamon stick
4 eggs, room temperature
¼ cup plus 8 teaspoons sugar
1 (12-ounce) loaf brioche, ends trimmed, loaf cut in 8 (1-inch-thick) slices
Clarified butter, for cooking
- Bring the cream, half-and-half, lemon zest, orange zest, and cinnamon to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. While the mixture heats, whisk the eggs and 1/4c up sugar in a large bowl. Slowly add the hot liquid to the egg mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly.
- Lay the brioche slices in a single layer in glass or ceramic baking dishes. Slowly and evenly pour the egg-cream mixture over the bread, scattering the zest and cinnamon evenly over the bread. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Uncover the soaked brioche and discard the zest and cinnamon. Heat a thin sheen of clarified butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add a single layer of soaked brioche slices and cook, turning once, until evenly browned on both sides and cooked, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a half-sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining brioche slices, coating the skillet with clarified butter between batches. If the brioche browns before the center is heated through, reduce the heat.
- Spring a teaspoon of sugar evenly on top of each cooked slice. Using a kitchen blowtorch, caramelize the sugar on each piece of brioche as you would crème brulée. Serve immediately.
- Reprinted with permission Curate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen by Katie Button with Genevieve Ko. Copyright © 2016. Published by Flatiron Books. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Evan Sung.