Serving the French toast with the accompanying toppings on a large board or platter is one of my signatures! It's a fun presentation and this way everyone can help themselves. As a roadmap, you can prepare the orange compound butter up to a couple days ahead and the orange-infused maple syrup while cooking the toast.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Ease of Preparation: Easy


French Toast:
  • 8 slices hearty bread, such as challah or brioche
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Orange Compound Butter:
  • Zest of 1 navel orange plus 2 tablespoons juice
  • Orange blossom honey
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

Vanilla-Infused Maple Syrup:
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For serving:
  • Fresh berries, whipped cream, fresh mint, maple syrup, orange wedges and confectioner's sugar
  • Edible orchids, for garnish, optional


For the French toast: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F and fit a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, half-and-half, scraped vanilla seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and a good pinch of salt to combine. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Soak each slice of bread in the batter for about 20 seconds on each side.

Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the skillet and cook 4 of the bread slices until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Repeat the process with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 4 bread slices. Keep the finished French toast slices warm on the prepared baking sheet in the oven.

For the orange compound butter: In a small bowl, mix together the orange zest, honey and butter. Add the orange juice and mix to combine. Chill in a small covered bowl until ready to serve, up to 2 days.

For the vanilla-infused maple syrup: In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, bring the maple syrup and scraped vanilla seeds to a simmer and cook to open up the flavors of the vanilla, about 2 minutes. Swirl in the butter and cook until melted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let sit at room temperature until ready to use.

For serving: Serve the French toast on a large board or platter with the orange compound butter, orange-infused syrup and assorted garnishes alongside so guests can help themselves.

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