This Crème Brûlée French Toast Hack Is Brunch Bliss

published May 1, 2023
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

When you think of luxurious, decadent desserts, crème brûlèe might come to mind. But the traditional dessert isn’t always the most simple treat to make. The solution? Take a breakfast-adjacent shortcut.

In other words, instead of just making the usual crème brûlèe — fancy ramekin, precarious blow torch and all — channel the flavors of the dessert with French toast! If you use high-quality vanilla products and a properly made (yet simple) caramel, you can make brunch feel like a fancy date-night treat.

Crème Brûlèe French Toast Hack

The clever idea for a crème brûlèe–inspired French toast comes from Jose Xiloj, the digital content creator behind the Instagram account @jose.elcook. In the video, Xiloj tempers an egg and sugar mixture with hot milk (I’d even consider adding in vanilla extract). He dips the bread slices in the batter then sears them in a hot oiled skillet until golden-brown on each side. Why he tempers the eggs, I’m not exactly sure, but aside from this mystery, the process up to this point is very similar to traditional French toast

Afterwards, however, Xiloj caramelizes the sugar in a separate skillet until it’s dark brown but not burnt. He then dips the seared bread slices in the hot caramel, flipping it and covering both sides. Once the candy coating cools, the sugar hardens and encases the French toast, creating a crème brûlèe-like effect — no blow torch required. 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Jose Xiloj (@jose.elcook)

Crème brûlèe French toast delivers just as much, maybe even more, fun as traditional crème brûlèe. The best part is the highly anticipated cracking with a spoon, after all. If you really want to take it up a notch, though, top each piece with a scoop of vanilla ice cream while it’s still warm!