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Raspberry Lemon Baked French Toast

March 22, 2008
breakfast_rasplemonfrenchtoast_1.jpg

Fleeting whispers of spring are starting to appear, here and there — the light seems different, birds are starting to sing their spring songs, and I’ve even seen some spring robins — and though these signs are still just hints of the full-blown spring to come in another month or two, I know what’s coming, and I’m waiting with open arms to welcome the new season!

And as much as I love winter food, I’m antsy to shed the warm, fluffy, cozy blanket of winter soups, stews and hot drinks for some fresh, light tastes.

Take this baked french toast: I’ve “spring”-ed it up a bit with some lemon zest and raspberries tucked between the slices and scattered over the top…we just finished some, and it’s really got me in the spring mood!

breakfast_rasplemonfrenchtoast_2.jpg

I love baked french toast, especially for entertaining — you can prep it the night before, let the bread soak overnight, then just bake it off in the morning. I’ve made this french toast with some of the no-knead challah bread that Jaden posted on Steamy Kitchen; it comes out of the oven soft but not soggy, with some nicely toasted edges on the bread. If you were making this the night before, I would scatter the raspberries just before baking in the morning…the picture above was taken right before I popped ours into the oven. I think it will make a really lovely Easter morning breakfast!

Happy Easter to you, if you celebrate the holiday. And happy spring to all!
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Raspberry Lemon Baked French Toast

Ingredients
1 small (1 lb.) loaf of challah or brioche (I’ve been making the no-knead challah Jaden posted over on Steamy Kitchen), cut into 1-inch thick slices
1 cup whole milk
4 large eggs
1/3 cup good quality maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp coarse salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (if frozen, not thawed)

Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9×9 baking dish.

Place the bread slices in the dish so they make two rows and slightly overlap. I place them so they’re tilted on an angle (see above pictures.)

In a bowl, mix the milk, eggs, syrup, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest together until well blended. Pour over the bread slices, making sure all surfaces get covered. You can tilt the baking dish around a little to catch any dry areas. Let the bread soak for 15 minutes on the counter (or, if you’re prepping it the night before, just cover it and stick it in the fridge. The next morning, take it out about 30 minutes before you’re going to bake it, just to take off some of the chill.)

Before you pop the baking dish in the oven, sprinkle the raspberries over the bread slices. Tuck some in between the slices. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.

Cut into servings and serve with a little dusting of powdered sugar, if you like.

Serves 4.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Lynne permalink
    March 22, 2008 9:50 am

    This looks just beautiful and what a lovely idea for an Easter morning brunch! Not only are your recipes and pictures inspiring, it is also so enjoyable to read your posts. Thanks so much for sharing a great idea for spring!

  2. March 23, 2008 9:06 am

    I wish I was digging into some of that for breakfast!

  3. March 23, 2008 11:30 am

    This looks totally divine!!!! I’m saving this recipe for next time I have a few people here for b’fast.

  4. March 23, 2008 4:19 pm

    I love French Toast, and the idea of preparing it the night before sounds perfect. I hope we soon see the signs of spring in Canada soon! We’re still buried under tons of snow!

  5. March 23, 2008 6:09 pm

    I never thought of baking my french toast, it’s normally fried in butter which is good but calorietastic, will try this in the morning methinks!

  6. March 23, 2008 10:47 pm

    This looks great! Funny, the first thing I thought of when i saw the bread was the no-knead…and that was exactly what you used! Love the idea and beautiful breakfast. Cannot wait to try it!

  7. March 24, 2008 5:35 pm

    Thank you, Lynne!

    brilynn, I wish I had made more of it…it was gone too soon. :)

    Cathie, hope you like it — it makes a great breakfast dish for company!

    Shari – oh, I can imagine how much snow you must have in Canada…here’s hoping the spring melt comes sooner rather than later for you. ;)

    Rachel – mmm, anything fried in butter is good, though. Hope you enjoy baking it if you try it!

    Gretchen Noelle — thanks! I am *loving* the no-knead challah. I saw you made the no-knead brioche; I am going to try that too. Yum!

  8. Jenn permalink
    April 9, 2008 11:27 am

    I baked this dish for my family over the weekend, and it was wonderful — everyone loved it! Thanks for all the great recipes! :)

  9. bernielynch permalink
    April 22, 2009 8:41 pm

    yum, I made this with a ciabatta and blueberries to complement the lemon and it was fantastic! Very well received by my guests.

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