Baked French Toast with Very Vanilla Strawberry Sauce

French bread sliced baked in a cinnamon-spiced, vanilla-flecked custard then topped with sweet, syrupy strawberries...could a dish get any better? Much like bread pudding, Vietnamese Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Vanillaand Cinnamon Extracts are the key flavor components. While our Vanilla Balsamic creates the perfect sweet-tangy balance for the strawberry topping.  This gorgeous dish feeds a crowd with one limitation: there probably won't be leftovers. 

Ingredients for the Baked French Toast:

Butter for greasing the pan

1 loaf French Bread, cut in slices

8 eggs

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 Tbl Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Tbl Cinnamon Extract

1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients for the Topping: 

1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces

1/2 cup Flour

1/2 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar

2 tsp Vietnamese Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Fleur de Sel or Sel Gris

Freshly grated Nutmeg 

Ingredients for Very Vanilla Strawberry Sauce

1 pint strawberries, sliced

1 oz Vanilla Bean Sugar

2 Tbl Vanilla Balsamic

Directions for the Baked French Toast:

PreHeat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X13 baking dish with butter. Shingle the french bread slices in the dish using only enough slices to create a single layer. Do not overcrowd the dish with bread. Beat the remaining Baked French Toast ingredients together in a bowl. Pour over the bread. Allow to sit while you prepare the topping ingredients. You can also do this well in advance--up to 24 hours--and cover and refrigerate until you're ready to bake the dish.

For the topping, in a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, Vietnamese Cinnamon, Fleur de Sel or Sel Gris and Nutmeg. Add the pieces of cold butter and use your fingers to cut the ingredients together. The mixture should resemble tiny crumbs or pebbles. Spread the topping on top of the French Toast. Bake for 45 minutes for a custard-like texture or 1 hour for a firm, crispy texture. 

While the dish is baking, make the Very Vanilla Strawberry Sauce. In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir occasionally to encourage juices to develop. Set aside and use in place of syrup on the Baked French Toast. This sauce is also fantastic on ice cream, pound cake, oatmeal or yogurt. Check out this recipe for a Strawberry Sauce using our Coconut Balsamic. A tropical Delight!


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