Baked Blueberry Brioche French Toast with Blueberry Compote, and Crème Anglaise

Baked Blueberry Brioche French Toast4.2_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_923.1-Recovered

Here in the midwest, it seems there was almost no fall season this year, and already the deep winter weather is upon us. We Chicagoans are accustomed to brisk winters, but they usually don’t begin in early November with bone-chilling blasts. But here we are, leaves still green with late summer’s warmth, now frozen to the limbs in a grim warning of the long, cold months ahead.

Baked Blueberry Brioche French Toast2_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_923.1-Recovered

Baked Blueberry Brioche French Toast3_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_923.1-Recovered

This week I’m in need of some warm and cozy comfort to start my day, and summer blueberries I had frozen for much later in the season are just the thing to cheer us up. Blueberries are one of my favorite berries, and I can’t pass up desserts or pastries made with them. While brainstorming a recipe to feature these lovelies, I start to reminisce on recipes I would make in our tiny kitchen in Germany, and instantly, I remember the rich decadence of crème anglaise, what a perfect pairing! Brioche French toast baked with whole berries, topped with warm blueberry compote and a generous drizzling of cool crème anglaise would bring these lovely flavors together perfectly and with ease.

Baked Blueberry Brioche French Toast1_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_923.1-Recovered

Baked Blueberry Brioche French Toast7_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_923.1-Recovered

Baked Blueberry Brioche French Toast5_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_923.1-Recovered

Blueberry Brioche French Toast
1 loaf brioche, thickly sliced
2 pints of fresh or frozen blueberries
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 T. sugar (I used turbinado sugar)
3 egg yolks
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 t. nutmeg
2 T. butter
Pinch of salt
Powdered sugar

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs yolks, milk, heavy cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract until well blended. Grease a 13’x9’ baking dish with butter, and arrange the brioche slices in a row, overlapping by about 1/3. Take a handful of blueberries and arrange on each slice and a few between, then pour the egg mixture over the top. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate 4 hours.

While bread is chilling, prepare blueberry compote and crème anglaise – once completed remove the brioche French toast from the refrigerator and bake at 375’ for 40 minutes or until golden brown on top and soft to the touch.

To serve, spoon the blueberry compote on top, drizzle with crème anglaise and sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately. Leftovers can be refrigerated up to a week in the back of the refrigerator, or portioned and frozen for a chilly day.

Blueberry Compote
2 pints of fresh or frozen blueberries
1 T. butter
3 T. sugar
1/4 cup water

Place all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Adjust flame to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes until sauce thickens.

Crème Anglaise
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 large egg yolks
3 T. turbinado sugar (you can use any sugar you prefer – turbinado sugar can be found in your grocery store)
2 t. pure vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan, bring cream, milk, and vanilla extract to a gentle simmer, carefully avoiding a full boil. Remove from flame. In a large bowl whisk egg yolks and sugar until smooth and pastel yellow. While whisking vigorously, gradually add the hot cream and milk in a very thin stream to temper the eggs, this should take several minutes to avoid curdling and a broken texture. Once complete, return to saucepan and gently heat over a low flame, stirring constantly, until it thickens to the point that it coats a spoon and the swipe of a finger leaves a solid line. Serve warm if desired, or chill before serving.

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