Spanish French Toast

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Spanish french toast with a bruleed top on a plate next to berries

“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.

recipe heading-plus-icon


Serves 8

  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Comment 1

Leave a Reply

Be the first to comment.

  • Juan Caban
    August 8, 2022 at 12:58 pm

    Never tried french toast like, going to try it.