Monday, October 6, 2014

Orange French Toast

If I'm going to indulge at breakfast, it's likely to be pancakes or waffles -- or so I thought until I tasted this orange French toast with almonds. It's permeated with a delicious orange flavor from the orange juice and Grand Marnier liqueur it sits in overnight  (you're with me now, I'll bet). Pull it out of the fridge in the morning (great for when guests come) and sprinkle some sliced almonds on top, then place in a buttered skillet, before flipping over and adding almonds to the second side.
I ate this delicious dish earlier this summer at the Birchwood Inn, a wonderful bed and breakfast in Lenox, a quaint New England town in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. The owner, Ellen Gutman Chenaux, is the quintessential innkeeper, friendly and eager to please her guests who stay in this beautiful 19th century building. 
 If you're not touring the area, which is chock-a-block full of interesting sites and activities -- from the Tanglewood Music Festival in the summer, to the Norman Rockwell museum to the Berkshire botanical garden -- you can pull up a rocking chair and relax on the front porch.
Sit by the fireplace in the spacious living room, and choose a book from the voluminous library.
The sun-drenched dining room is a welcoming spot for morning breakfast, but don't expect a bowl of cold cereal. Oh no, Ellen's breakfasts are renowned, having been named the "best breakfasts in New England" by
This herb-filled quiche with a corn salad on the side gives you some idea, but there are several other side dishes to enjoy as well, and always homemade breads, coffeecakes and cookies.
Each morning presents a different opportunity for Ellen to shine in the kitchen, as with this soufflé roulade served with roasted potatoes.
Once I got home, I wanted to recreate her French toast, fortunately made easy because Ellen has published a cookbook (Breakfast at Birchwood - available at the inn) with recipes from her legendary breakfasts and afternoon treats on the front porch too.
This recipe is perfect for when you're having guests, because it's prepared the night before (and even two nights ahead works fine) and cooked the next morning. The only sad part is getting to the last bite or two.
Orange French Toast
from "Breakfast at Birchwood" cookbook by Ellen Gutman Chenaux

6 eggs
1 cup orange juice (or 2/3 cup orange juice plus 1/3 cup Grand Marnier)
1/3 cup milk or cream
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
rind of one orange, finely grated
8 slices challah (egg bread), cut 1-inch thick
about 1 cup sliced almonds, (not listed in the cookbook, but served with them at the inn)
powdered sugar
orange slices
maple syrup

Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add orange juice, cream or milk, sugar, vanilla, salt and orange rind. Mix well. Dip bread slices in egg mixture, turning to coat both sides. Place the bread in one or two layers in a large dish or pan. Pour any remaining egg mixture over the top of the bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, melt a generous amount of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bread slices and cook through, browning on both sides. Arrange on a plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and garnish with orange slices. Serve with maple syrup.

(If using the almonds, add them to one side of the bread and place that side down into the butter. Then sprinkle more on the top and flip to cook the second side, adding more butter if necessary.)

The cookbook says this recipe serves 4, but I cut it in half and got three generous servings (six large slices of challah), so I think it's not unrealistic to expect 6 servings when making the full recipe.

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Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Irresistible! This is such a delicious treat.

This house is so beautiful.



AdriBarr said...

What a lovely hotel, and what a beautiful plate of French Toast. I'd have to say that French Toast is my Desert Island Comfort Food of choice. It was always a special treat at our house when I was a kid, and I love it still. I am going to have to try this version. It sounds delightful. Thanks!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I love French toast and do-ahead is always good. I can just imagine how delicious this tastes and would love to try it. The orange and almonds have my mouth watering. Such a pretty Bed and Breakfast!

Chiara Giglio said...

che posto romantico ed elegante Linda,vedo dalle foto (splendide come sempre) che vi hanno coccolato con colazioni deliziose , ho sempre più voglia di venire laggiù ! Buona settimana, un abbraccio !

Mimi said...

This is interesting to me cause I would think the OJ would mush up the bread. I would probably use concentrate? But since you've had them, I trust they're fabulous. They're certainly pretty!

danielle ericsson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
danielle ericsson said...

This is such an irresistible treat!! Have to try it! And this hotel is very beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

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Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

What a beautiful bed and breakfast this is, Linda! It must have been such a nice treat to stay here. I love its location and Ellen's breakfasts look so wonderfully gourmet. This French Toast sounds divine with the addition of Grand Marnier ....mmmm!

Claudia said...

First - love Lenox! The history, the beauty, the time machine aspect of it. Second - husband is addicted to French toast. He doesn't like to experiment with it - because I don't make it enough. But I will do this for him. Worth the calories and worth his smile!

Welcome To Sulmona said...

Looks like a great place but most of all I liked the pic of the three of you - our Ambassadors over the water! Sending all of you love from Sulmona :) K&S