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Challah French Toast

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Challah French Toast

Jewish or not Jewish, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t go weak in the knees at their first bite of Challah French Toast (and if they didn’t go all bendy, then I probably couldn’t trust them anyway. But I digress…) What I love most about this recipe is that it was one of my favorite things to cook for my father. When my dad used to visit me in Andover, Massachusetts, he would always wake up early, be showered, freshly shaved, and dressed before anyone else in the house was even thinking about getting out of bed. I think my dad’s 30+ years as a bagel baker made him a perpetual early riser (no pun intended) long after he stopped making bagels. He was always up as soon as the sun rose, as if he needed to light the kettle, make a dough, and get ready for the morning’s customers.

Thick slices of Challah are dipped in a rich egg batter. fried to perfection and served with berries, sliced banana, and warm maple syrup. A perfect menu item for a special brunch or breakfast or even for breaking the fast on Yom Kippur.

On the days when he and my mom would visit, I loved making breakfast for my dad and Challah French Toast was always on the menu. Thick slices of sweet Challah bread dipped in a rich egg batter (with a hint of orange juice and vanilla), lightly fried to perfection and then dusted with powdered sugar and topped with sliced bananas and warm maple syrup..Just the thought of it is enough to make my mouth water.

Because my father was such a gifted baker in his own right, serving him a perfect meal was one of my life’s greatest achievements (when I did it right). To this day, and even as I write these words for you now, I can honestly see the look of pure joy on his face when he would take his first bite, smile at me, and give me a thumbs up and say (as he did every single time) “Home run!”

You’re welcome, Daddy.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 – 1 1/4 cups milk (whole or 2 percent)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 8 slices challah (cut 3/4 to 1 inch thick)
  • vegetable or canola oil
  • berries or sliced bananas for garnish
  • maple syrup
  • Confectioner's sugar for dusting

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place a non stick pan in the oven. I like to put a silpat mat on mine but you don’t need to, so long as the pan is non-stick. You’ll use this pan to keep the French toast warm until ready to serve.
  2. In a large shallow bowl (I use a deep pie dish), whisk the eggs, milk, orange juice, honey, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. Dip each slice of challah into the egg mixture, turning to make sure both sides are coated. Allow each slice to soak for a few minutes.
  4. While the bread slices are soaking, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  5. Let the excess egg mixture drip off of each slice before placing in the skillet. Cook each bread slice about 3 minutes per side until golden brown. Keep slices warm in oven until ready to serve.
  6. I like to cut each slice in half on the diagonal and arrange 2 or 3 slices per plate. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve with sliced bananas or sliced strawberries and blueberries. I also like to serve with a small pitcher of warm (heat in the microwave) maple syrup. 

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  • Jodi Luber