With Mother’s Day around the corner, I wanted to do something for my mom to make her feel extra special. I decided to cater to the woman who inspired me to start cooking by making her brunch – her favorite.
Whenever we go to brunch, my mom always orders French toast with berries on top, so I thought, why not re-create that at home? This triple berry French toast starts out with a vanilla custard, which consists of eggs, half-and-half, sugar and vanilla. I picked brioche bread because it is the perfect complement to the custard; it’s dense and slightly sweet and does a great job soaking up all the batter. As the French toast bakes, the brioche stays soft in the center, but slowly caramelizes on the edges and makes a crunchy crust – my mom’s favorite part.
What makes this recipe over the top are the fresh berries baked right into the custard. The berries slowly break down, bubble and form a jam like consistency throughout the dish. Every bite has the best of both worlds – custardy brioche and warm berries. As soon as the French toast comes out of the oven, sprinkle it with a dusting of powdered sugar, a handful of your mom’s favorite berries and a drizzle of warm maple syrup.
There is no better way to show mom how much you love her than with this triple berry French toast. Make a pot of her favorite coffee or make it over the top with some mimosas – and your mom will feel extra loved this year!
Niloo Sarshar, Culinary Content Coordinator
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound loaf day-old brioche, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 oz. mixed berries of your choice
Accompaniments: whipped cream, powdered sugar, maple syrup, fresh berries
1) Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2) Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter and set aside.
3) In a bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla extract and salt.
4) Spread half of the brioche into the baking dish. Top with mixed berries (I like to use blackberries, raspberries and strawberries). Top with the remaining bread and pour over the custard mixture.
5) Using your hands, gently press down bread into the custard, making sure it is coated well.
6) Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
7) Remove plastic and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.
8) Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes, until the custard is set and the top is puffed and browned.
9) Cool for 10 minutes. Serve with powdered sugar, whipped cream, maple syrup and more fresh berries.