Once a month (or so) a group of my friends and I get together for what we like to call recipe club. We’ll set a theme (Spanish tapas, Mexican, Thai, etc) and everyone will bring an appropriate, made-from-scratch dish. This beauty of a baked french toast dish came about one lazy sunday morning at a brunch-themed recipe club, and has been part of my breakfast repertoire ever since. It’s even better if you make it the day before you bake it, so the bread can soak up all of that eggy goodness.
Makes: 6 serves
Takes: 15 minutes to prep; 40 minutes to bake
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
16 slices thick white bread
100g butter, softened
3 cups milk
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
fresh berries, icing sugar and maple syrup to serve
Preheat your oven to 200°c.
Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Spread the sliced bread in a single layer over two large baking trays. Butter each slice, then sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar (reserving 1 tablespoon to sprinkle on top, later). Toast the trays of bread in the oven until golden and caramelised, 7–10 minutes. Leave to cool slightly.
Reduce the oven temperature to 180°c.
If you have some leftover butter, use it to grease a baking dish. Cut each slice of cinnamon toast in half diagonally and arrange the triangles in two rows down the baking dish, with the peaks pointing up. These will go lovely and crispy when baked.
Whisk together the milk, eggs, salt and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl. Pour the mixture evenly over the toast in the baking dish. Leave to sit for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the reserved cinnamon sugar over the top just before baking. Bake for 30 minutes until puffy and golden, and all of the custard has been absorbed into the toast.
Serve with your favourite fresh berries, a dusting of icing sugar and a generous drizzle of maple syrup.