This recipe is featured in our Recipe of the Day Newsletter. Sign up for it here to have our test kitchen-approved recipes delivered to your inbox!
I typically prefer savory breakfasts: think fried eggs with a generous dusting of cayenne (I know) and a couple slices of toasted bread. I eat this most mornings, except for when French toast is an option. Not going to deny that making French toast can get a little tedious, between dipping the bread in a custard batter and then pan frying them one-by-one. I have spent too much time in the kitchen over the stove making sure I am getting that even golden brown on each side (when I should be chilling with a mimosa, ya know?). Sure I’ll do it while cooking for two. But when I have guests over, I’m all about a French toast casserole. This baked version is a huge time saver and requires minimal prep. Plus, it comes out looking beautiful and your house smells like a fancy bakery: all positives if you ask me!
The flavors in this recipe are inspired by “kheer,” a type of rice pudding made in India spiced with cardamom, saffron and rose. I use brioche in this recipe, but really any soft white bread works just as great (like challah!). A trick I learned in culinary school was to give the slices a quick toast under the broiler, this dries them out further, allowing them to soak up more of the custard and gives the most amazing golden brown color with crispy edges. The secret ingredients to this custard? Cardamom and saffron for warmth and color! Blooming the saffron by crushing the threads and then adding warm milk brings out its bright orange color to tint this comforting casserole. Left to rest overnight and then baked in the morning to perfection, it’s the true breakfast of champions, especially when finished with dollops of chilled rosewater whipped cream and crushed pistachios for crunch.
Make this delicious crowd-pleasing Baked French Toast with Cardamom and Saffron to level up your brunch game!
Recipe and Headnote Rachel Gurjar
- 1 loaf cinnamon raisin brioche bread
- 5 room temperature eggs
- 3/ 4 cup eggnog
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/ 2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/ 4 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat griddle to 350F or heat a skillet over medium heat.
Add all ingredients, except the bread, to a blender or whisk well to combine. Grease skillet with butter or non-stick spray. Dip the bread in the batter and turn to generously coat both sides.
Place on hot skillet and cook for a few minutes, until the bottom of the bread starts to get golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side. Serve with pure maple syrup and sliced bananas.