Almond-Crusted Vanilla Cinnamon-Raisin-Swirl French Toast


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Wolfgang Puck One of the best things about French toast is how spectacular the results are compared with how easy it is to make.The only really tricky part is the actual dipping of the bread in the egg mixture. But once you're aware of it, common sense will tell you what to do. Denser breads need to soak for a minute or so on each side, so the liquid can penetrate to the center. But lighter, airier breads such as brioche or some white sandwich loaves need very little soaking or they'll fall apart.

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  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 C. milk
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 C. chopped or slivered almonds
  • 8 slices good-quality cinnamon-raisin-swirl bread, each about 1 inch thick
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
  • Maple syrup or apricot or strawberry jam, for serving

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter one or two baking dishes large enough to hold the bread in a single layer. In a large, wide bowl, beat the eggs and then whisk them together with the milk, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. On a dinner plate, spread the almonds in an even layer. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Heat a large, heavy, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, or preheat a griddle. Dip a bread slice into the egg mixture, turning it until it is completely and evenly saturated. Then, carefully dip it in the nuts to coat it evenly on both sides, pressing the nuts gently with your fingers, and transfer to the lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining slices. Add 2 Tbs. butter to the hot pan or griddle and swirl in the pan or move it around with a spatula on the griddle until the cooking surface is evenly coated. When the butter foams, carefully transfer as many coated bread slices as will fit without crowding. Cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side, turning carefully with a spatula. Transfer to the baking dish or dishes. If more slices remain to be cooked, add the remaining butter to the pan or griddle. Bake the French toast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until deep golden brown. To serve, use a sharp knife to cut each slice diagonally in half. Arrange on heated serving plates. Spoon the powdered sugar into a fine-meshed sieve and tap the sieve over each serving to dust it attractively. Serve immediately with maple syrup or jam.

(Chef Wolfgang Puck's TV series, "Wolfgang Puck's Cooking Class," airs Sundays and Wednesdays on the Food Network. Also, chef Wolfgang Puck's latest cookbook, Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy, is now available in bookstores. Write Wolfgang Puck in care of Tribune Media Services Inc., 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY. 14207.)




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