A crème brûlée is nothing more than a chilled baked custard with a thin coating of sugar torched on its surface to create a layer of glassy caramelized sugar. The deep and complex notes of the burnt sugar compliment the richness of the creamy custard, not to mention the pleasure of contrast between smooth custard and crunchy caramel. Over the decades, crème brûlée has evolved from a simple dessert to one with more iterations and flavors than you would think possible. But we're still partial to the classic recipe, which always incorporates vanilla and some kind of liqueur. French toast, conveniently enough, is bread that is soaked in a liquid custard before being cooked either on the stove or in the oven. The custard that soaks into the bread cooks and sets, creating a fluffy and rich breakfast entree. We decided to make a custard similar in flavor to a traditional crème brûlée, and then cook the french toast in the oven on top of a layer of caramel, blending the best of both worlds and making a breakfast that should probably be considered a dessert.

Micah A Leal


Credit: Micah A. Leal

Recipe Summary test

10 mins
40 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Whisk together eggs, yolks, milk, and cream until combined. Add sugar, liqueur, vanilla, and salt; whisk together until sugar is dissolved.

  • Place bread slices face down in a single layer in a 10- x- 15-inch baking dish or roasting pan. Pour custard over bread slices. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight, flipping the slices over in the custard after 1 hour of soaking.

  • When french toast has finished soaking, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Stir until sugar is dissolved and boiling. Pour sugar mixture onto baking sheet and spread evenly across baking sheet while mixture is still hot. Gently lift each piece of toast out of custard, allowing excess to drip off, and place face down onto the warm caramel.

  • Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake until the top of the french toast is dry and lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Immediately serve french toast by flipping each piece over so the caramel covered side is facing up. Serve by itself or with whipped cream, if desired.