What to eat the morning after a decadent, delicious Christmas meal? It feels as though it should be special, something interesting and festive. Well, this spice packed french toast with boozey citrus maple syrup is a wonderful option for your Christmas day breakfast or brunch. And the syrup can be made ahead of time. It will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Since we don't have that much time before Christmas it will do just fine made the day before.
If you took a poll about how people feel about fruitcake it would probably--though half in jest--be described as extremely unpopular. I’ve had passable and even bad versions of fruitcake. But I’ve also had fabulous versions. Done well it is a real treat: a moist, dense spice cake with deliciously sweet and warm, fiery booze soaked candied fruit.
Since the flavors are really fabulous but the execution leaves much to be desired, I decided to try to honor the spirit of fruitcake in (hopefully) the best possible way: turning it into a moist, spicy, sweet brioche french toast topped with boozey candied orange peels accompanied by a maple orange cognac syrup.
I candied my own orange peels, a byproduct of which is orange simple syrup. If you can get them at your store just leave the orange simple syrup out. If you'd like to make your own candied orange peels, skip to the recipe at the bottom. These can be made up to two weeks ahead and stored in an airtight container.
Fruitcake French Toast
For the syrup:
1 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup cognac
2 Tablespoons (approx 3/4 of an entire orange peel) candied peel, diced
1 teaspoon orange simple syrup
1. Combine all ingredients in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan over the lowest heat setting.
2. Cook for 20 minutes to infuse flavors and cook away some of the alcohol.
Serve warm over spiced brioche french toast.
For the toast:
6 thick slices stale brioche loaf
6 jumbo eggs
3/4 cup half n half
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon orange simple syrup
(Up to) 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1. In a bowl whisk together eggs, spices, vanilla, half n half, and syrup.
2. In a single layer soak bread slices for 2 minutes.
3. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add a small pat of butter and swirl to coat pan.
4. Flip bread and soak on opposite side for 2 minutes.
5. Shake excess egg off of bread and lay in pan. Turn heat down just a bit and fry for 5 minutes. Flip and fry for an additional 5 minutes.
Serve with Maple orange cognac syrup.
Candied orange peels
Peel of one orange, cut into long, 1/2 centimeter wide strips
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cognac
1/2 cup simple syrup
1. Combine sugar, water and cognac in a small heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat. When sugar has dissolved, add orange peel slices.
2. Cook at a lazy simmer for 25 - 30 minutes, or until white pith turns translucent.
3. Remove peels from pan, shaking the excess liquid back in the pan.
To make orange simple syrup: strain liquid. Stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator, it will keep for up to two weeks.