I’ll never forget the first time I tried Challah French toast. I was eight years old, and my family went out for Sunday breakfast at a local delicatessen, Pumpernickles. Besides having the most delicious chocolate upside-down cupcakes, rugelach and sugar cookies, they also had some of the best French toast I had ever tasted. It was crispy and golden on the outside, moist and custardy on the inside, and sprinkled lightly with powdered sugar. The French toast my mom usually made was thinner–she used whatever bread we had around the house. But the slices of bread at Pumpernickles were thick and eggy, and each bite of toast seemed to melt in my mouth.
I had some leftover Challah from this past weekend, and I decided to put it to good use. I had never actually made my own Challah French toast, but I figured it was a rite of passage: I order it so often in restaurants, it was time I learned how to make it myself.
I used Ina Garten’s recipe, partly because it’s Ina, and partly because the recipe looked the most straightforward. Whisk some eggs, milk and honey together, slice up the Challah, and let it absorb some of the egg-milk mixture. Heat up a frying pan, fry the slices until they’re golden brown, and then enjoy with some maple syrup and/or powdered sugar. It couldn’t be simpler, or more delicious.
I did make one change to Ina’s recipe, mostly in the name of health. I decided to substitute another tablespoon of vegetable oil instead of butter for frying. I know to some this is French toast sacrilege. But trust me when I say, the toast will turn out every bit as flavorful.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did! I might start making a fancy breakfast for myself once a week–the old milk and cereal routine gets boring after a while. So stay tuned for more recipes, coming soon…
Challah French Toast (adapted from Ina Garten’s Challah French Toast recipe)
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon good honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large loaf challah or brioche bread
Pure maple syrup
Sifted confectioners’ sugar
In a large, shallow baking pan, whisk together the eggs, milk, grated lemon zest, vanilla, honey, and salt. Slice the challah in 3/4-inch thick slices. Soak as many slices in the egg mixture as possible for 5 minutes, turning once.
Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a very large saute pan over medium heat. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Fry the remaining soaked bread slices, oil as needed, until it’s all cooked. Serve hot with maple syrup, and/or confectioners’ sugar.