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Brandy Brioche French Toast With Espresso Mascarpone

Brandy and espresso make this brunch staple extra decadent.

In her book Maman: The Cookbook, Elisa Marshall shares this decadent recipe for french toast made with brioche. “This adults-only version features brandy and espresso, but you can omit them to make it kid-friendly,” Marshall writes. “You need at least 6 hours to let the French toast set, so it’s the perfect make-ahead dish for entertaining.”

Ingredients

Yield:Serves 4
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups (480 ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
  • ¾ cup (150 g) sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) brandy
  • 2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large unsliced loaf day-old brioche (about 1 pound / 450 g)
  • 2½ cups (600 g) mascarpone
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup (15 g) instant espresso powder
  • 1 Tbsp. warm water
  • 3 Tbsp. sunflower oil serving
  • 2 bananas, sliced (optional)
  • Finely ground coffee (optional)
  • Maple syrup, warmed

Preparation

French Toast: In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the milk, heavy cream, sugar, brandy, and vanilla and whisk until fully combined. Spread a thin coat of the mixture on the bottom of a 9 × 13-inch (23 × 33 cm) baking dish.

Slice off the ends of the brioche (reserve for another use), then cut the loaf crosswise into slices roughly 2 inches (5 cm) thick—you should have 5 or 6 slices. Dip each slice into the batter, turning to coat fully, then arrange snugly, side by side, in the baking dish. Pour any remaining batter over the brioche. Tightly cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Espresso Marscapone: In a medium bowl, combine the mascarpone, maple syrup, and salt and whisk until fully combined.

In a small bowl, whisk the instant espresso powder with the warm water until fully dissolved. Add to the mascarpone mixture and whisk until fully combined and an even, light-tan color. Refrigerate until ready to use.

About 1 hour before serving, remove the French toast from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Set the oven to 200°F (100°C) to keep the French toast warm.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the sunflower oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, reduce the heat to medium-low and add 2 slices of brioche. Place a heavy saucepan directly on top of the brioche to press it into the skillet. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 6 minutes, then flip over the slices and cook the other side the same way until golden brown all over, 6 minutes more. Keep the French toast warmin the oven while you continue cooking, using1 tablespoon of sunflower oil for each batch.

To Serve: Arrange each slice of French toast on a plate and generously dollop with the espresso mascarpone. If desired, sprinkle with banana slices and finely ground coffee. Serve with warm maple syrup.

Tip: In lieu of instant espresso powder, you can use regular instant coffee, preferably a dark roast, but you’ll need to add a little extra to approximate the rich, roasted flavor of espresso.Store the espresso mascarpone refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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