My Grandma’s custardy French toast with raspberry butter

French toast is the ultimate breakfast comfort food. It starts with smelling it while it’s cooking. I have this thing about the smell of eggs on a skillet and it might be one of my favorite smells in the world. With French toast, though, the scent isn’t just eggs. It’s buttery, custardy, and just absolutely dreamy. Another thing about French toast is that I’m not sure what’s more satisfying—having someone cook it for you, or cooking it for someone else. Also, how gorgeous is a plate of French toast topped with a pat of butter and glossy hot maple syrup? Clearly I could go on forever—I’m telling you, it’s the stuff comfort is made of.

My whole childhood, my brothers and I often slept over at my grandparents’ house, and one of my Grandma’s signature dishes was (and still is) her French toast. To this day, I’ve never had another version that tops hers, and that’s why I never stray from this recipe. I can’t wait to spoil my kids and my grandkids with the same delicious French toast.

Here are my top three tips for perfect French toast

  1. Use a good loaf of bread (really, anything other than thin sandwich bread)
  2. Let the bread soak in the egg mixture for at least 15-20 minutes. My grandma swears she lets her bread soak all morning if the bread is a little stale. I actually believe this is the most crucial step that is so often overlooked. If the bread isn’t soaked through, it won’t ever reach velvety custardy perfection in the center.
  3. Cook it low and slow on the stove

French Toast

Yields about 12 slices of French toast
1 loaf day-old Italian bread, cut into ¾-1 inch slices
12 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 T salted butter
1 T vegetable or canola oil
raspberry butter, for serving (recipe below)
real maple syrup, for serving

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (this is just for keeping the French toast warm later after each batch). Crack the eggs into a large pan or casserole dish (I find a roasting pan works great). Pour in the cream and vanilla and whisk it all together until eggs are beaten. Place the bread into the egg mixture, pressing down to submerge for a few seconds. Every 5 minutes or so, flip the bread over, and press to submerge.

Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet over low to medium-low heat. Add butter and oil to the pan and swirl it all around to coat the pan. After bread has been soaking for at least 20 minutes, add the bread to the pan. Cook on one side until lightly golden (can take 5-10 minutes, it isn't very touchy), and then flip and repeat for the other side. If you need to work in batches, place the first batch on a serving platter and into the oven to stay warm. When you’re ready to serve, you may sprinkle the French toast with powdered sugar, although I've never been into that. Regardless, serve it with berry butter for the perfect hint of tart-sweetness and, of course, warm maple syrup.

Raspberry Butter

1 stick salted butter, room temperature
½ cup fresh raspberries

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter with berries until combined and the raspberries have been broken apart. Use a spatula to scrape the butter onto a piece of plastic wrap. Shape the butter into a log, about 1-1½ inches in diameter. Place in the fridge to firm up. When you’re ready to serve it, pull from the fridge and cut into slices, and place on a little dish for serving, or directly onto the French toast.