Let's Do Brunch: Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's French Toast Recipe

Kristin Detterline | November 12, 2020 | Food & Drink Food & Drink Feature

“This is the ultimate French toast recipe, and one that is best suited for the holidays," Vongerichten says. "It is more like dessert, with the crème anglaise and caramel. My family loves it! To achieve the perfect balance between a crisp outside and custard center, you must completely soak the bread.”

Chef Jean-Georges VongerichtenChef Jean-Georges Vongerichten

French Toast With Roasted Apples, Serves 4


2/3 cup whole milk

2/3 cup heavy cream

1⁄2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1/3 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped

4 1-inch-thick slices brioche, preferably day-old

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for the pan

2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths

Crème anglaise, optional

Caramel sauce, optional

Confectioners’ sugar


Whisk together the milk, cream, sugar, egg, yolk and vanilla bean seeds until the sugar dissolves. Arrange the brioche slices in a single layer in a shallow baking dish. Pour the milk-egg mixture over the bread, submerging the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the bread is completely soaked and almost too soft to handle, at least one hour and up to overnight.

When you’re almost ready to serve, preheat the oven to 400 F. Generously butter a small rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the apples in a single layer. Dot the apples with 1 tablespoon butter. Roast until golden brown and tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. When the butter foams, use both hands to very carefully transfer the soaked brioche slices to the pan. Cook until golden brown, about five minutes, then carefully flip. Transfer to the oven and bake alongside the apples until golden brown and puffed, about five minutes.

Serve the French toast with the apples and the crème anglaise and caramel, if desired. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.


1 cup whole milk

1⁄2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped

3 large egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar

Whisk together the milk and vanilla seeds and pod in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until bubbles just begin to form around the edges.

Meanwhile, rapidly whisk together the yolks and sugar in a medium bowl until the sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes pale yellow.

Continue whisking rapidly and add a few spoonfuls of the just-boiling milk mixture to temper the yolks. Remove the milk mixture from the heat and whisk in the yolk mixture in a steady stream. Set the saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk rapidly until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about seven minutes. When you run your finger across a spoon dipped into the sauce, it should leave a clear line.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl.

Set the bowl on top of a larger bowl of ice and water to stop the mixture from cooking. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. The sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to two days.

Chef Jean-Georges French ToastFrench toast goes from average to elevated with the addition of apples, crème anglaise and caramel sauce.


1 cup sugar

1/3 cup heavy cream, at room temperature

5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, preferably cultured, at room temperature

Put the sugar in a large sauce pan. Add just enough water to dampen it. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Continue cooking until amber, swirling the pan occasionally.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cream—be careful, the mixture will bubble up—then the butter. Continue stirring until the mixture is well blended. Let cool to room temperature. The sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to two days.

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Photography by: Reprinted from Home Cooking with Jean-Georges by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Copyright © 2011. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.