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Monday, 23 January 2012

Really French Toast a l'Orange

This recipe is proof positive that sometimes playing it safe and being ordinary simply won’t do.  Some days you have to go completely over the top.  Nobody knows this better than Sir Elton Hercules John, a man who dares to ask; "Why wear jeans and a t-shirt when you can sport a sequinned jumpsuit and pink rhinestone glasses?"

Indeed, I ask; "why use regular bread for your French toast when you can use buttery, flaky croissants drowned in custard?"  Well health might be one reason and it goes without saying that any recipe that begins with croissants and ends with butter and maple syrup is probably not the healthiest ... but it is the most delicious.  Thanks to my usually health-conscious mom for inspiring this recipe!

I bake this instead of frying because the croissants are very delicate and tend to fall apart. However, if you insist on frying, soak the croissants in the egg mixture for only a few seconds on each side as they soak up the custard much faster than bread.

6 croissants (best if they are a day old)
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup orange juice
zest of one orange
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
Butter for greasing the baking dish
Maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a medium sized baking dish with butter.  I usually use a 9 inch round x 3 inch deep casserole dish.

Slice each croissant in half lengthwise and pack them into the dish. If you can't fit them all in, don't worry, you can squish them down more once the egg mixture is added. Whisk the remaining ingredients together in a bowl and pour about half of the the mixture over the croissants. Gently push the croissants down to help them soak up the egg mixture. Add the rest of the croissants if necessary and top with the rest of the mixture. The liquid should almost reach the top of the croissants with some pieces left sticking out. You can top it up with a bit of milk if necessary. Bake until puffed and golden, about 35-40 minutes.
Serve warm with maple syrup.

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