Brioche French Toast with Fruit Syrup and Meyer Lemon Marmalade

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Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 150 minutes
Servings: 6

A fragrant vanilla bean and whole cardamom pods are baked right into this dish, resulting in an unusually decadent French toast. Dressed up with a Meyer lemon marmalade that’s simultaneously sweet and tart, it can even be served as a dessert.


For the French toast:

  • 5 slices brioche, each 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick, halved diagonally
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 cups (24 fl. oz./750 ml) half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
  • 3 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

For the marmalade:

  • 2 lb. (1 kg) Meyer lemons
  • 4 cups (2 lb./1 kg) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise

  • Fruit syrup left over from making apple butter, for serving (optional)


To prepare the French toast, in a 9 1/2-inch (24-cm) sauté pan, layer the brioche evenly.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, half-and-half, sugar, vanilla bean, cardamom pods and salt. Pour the custard mixture over the brioche and let soak, refrigerated, for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

While the French toast is soaking, prepare the marmalade. Cut the ends off each lemon. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the lemons and remove the seeds.

In a large pot over low heat, combine the lemon slices, sugar, water and vanilla bean. Cook, covered, for 60 minutes, then remove the cover and cook for 30 minutes more.

Remove from the stovetop and let cool to room temperature. Use immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

To finish the French toast, preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).

Bake the brioche in the sauté pan until puffy and the edges of the bread on top are browned, about 1 hour. Drizzle the French toast with the marmalade and fruit syrup and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Jason French, Chef/Owner, Ned Ludd, Portland, OR.

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