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The Ultimate French Toast

Michel Richard with Peter Kaminsky, Sweet Magic: Easy Recipes for Delectable Desserts / December 2010

For 9 servings

• 2 cups heavy cream
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped
• 1 tsp. powdered gelatin
• 9 lg. egg yolks, lightly whisked warm water (for baking)

  1. Heat oven to 300°F.

  2. Bring cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, and gelatin to a boil in a saucepan; remove from heat; let stand 1 hour; remove beans; save for another use; place custard in clean bowl; cool.

  3. Whisk in egg yolks; pour into 9" baking dish; place in hotel pan; pour warm water into hotel pan to come halfway up sides of baking dish; bake until custard is set and a skewer inserted in center comes out clean (about 45 minutes); remove from oven; remove baking dish from water bath; place on wire rack; cool; cover with plastic wrap; reserve in refrigerator.

• 18 slices firm white bread, crusts removed
• 1 1/2 cups whole milk
• 4 lg. eggs
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 3 to 5 Tbsps. unsalted butter
• 6 Tbsps. turbinado sugar
• maple syrup (for serving)

  1. Place 9 slices bread on clean work surface; remove custard from refrigerator; cut into 9 3" squares; place custard square in center of each bread slice; top with remaining 9 slices bread; reserve.

  2. Whisk milk, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in shallow bowl; dip sandwiches into batter one at a time, coating both sides; place on sheet pan lined with parchment paper; reserve.

  3. Heat butter in large nonstick skillet; place 2 to 3 sandwiches in pan; cook until brown (1 to 2 minutes); flip; cook until other side is brown (1 to 2 minutes); remove from heat; place on clean baking sheet; wipe out skillet; repeat process with remaining butter and sandwiches.

  4. To serve, sprinkle each cooked sandwich with 1 tsp. turbinado sugar; place under broiler until sugar melts (about 2 minutes); remove from heat; flip; sprinkle other sides with 1 tsp. turbinado sugar each; broil 2 minutes; remove from heat; place a sandwich on each serving plate; drizzle with maple syrup.