1. Choose challah: I bought this gorgeous loaf from Open Harvest, a great cooperative grocery near my house. This spongy egg bread is the perfect foundation for French toast.
2. Orange: zest a whole navel orange into the custard. Don't skip this step! The citrus adds brightness and keeps the finished product from tasting like a donut.
3. Crème fraîche: top the custardy fried toast with crème fraîche and real maple syrup. The tangy crème fraîche is an important counterbalance to the richness of the toast and syrup.
Adapted from Ina Garten
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
Zest of one orange
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 large loaf challah
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, orange zest, vanilla, syrup, nutmeg, and salt. Slice the challah into eight 1-inch thick slices. Soak challah slices in the egg mixture for 5 minutes, turning once.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the soaked bread and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Place the cooked French toast on a sheet pan and keep it warm in the oven. Fry the remaining soaked bread slices, adding butter as needed. Serve hot with maple syrup, crème fraîche, and raspberries.