Challah French toast with strawberry syrup makes for a pretty posh brunch or a sunny weeknight dinner. A sweet syrup made from fresh strawberries elevates the warmly spiced challah to a whole new level of scrumptiousness.
This recipe is a family favorite that recalls great memories of our family vacations at the beach with Uncle Rob (my brother-in-law), who would prepare this decadent version.–Cynthia Graubart
Challah French Toast with Strawberry Syrup
For the strawberry syrup
- 1 pound fresh strawberries hulled and sliced
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup (3 1/2 oz) light corn syrup
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Pinch of salt
For the challah French toast
- 8 large eggs
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar light or dark, firmly packed
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons | 2 oz) butter salted or unsalted
- 8 slices challah bread or substitute with sourdough, French, or brioche, sliced 3/4 inch (19 mm) thick
- Confectioners’ sugar for serving
- 1 1/2 cups (6 1/2 oz) fresh strawberries hulled and sliced
Make the strawberry syrup
- In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the strawberries, water, sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, and salt to a boil. Reduce heat if required to prevent boil-over. Cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Place a metal sieve over a glass or metal bowl. Strain strawberry mixture, using the back of a spoon, press the solids against the sieve to release all the liquid. Discard solids or save them for another use. Cool syrup, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
☞TESTER TIP: Strawberry solids can be used as a compote on the French toast or mixed with yogurt for a sweet treat. Leftover syrup is delicious as a topping for vanilla ice cream or can be used to flavor carbonated water!
Make the challah French toast
- Preheat oven to 200°F (95°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large, wide bowl, combine eggs, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and brown sugar, whisk until well incorporated. Stir in milk and vanilla.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter. Dip two bread slices in egg batter and let soak until completely coated and some of the egg custard is absorbed, about 30 seconds. Add to hot skillet and cook until crisp and brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side, until crisp and brown, 2 to 3 minutes more. As the slices are cooked, move them to the prepared baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with remaining butter and bread slices.
- Sprinkle slices with confectioners’ sugar, top with strawberry slices, and drizzle with strawberry syrup. Serve warm, with a side of bacon if desired.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This simple challah French toast with strawberry syrup is a fantastic go-to for an easy weekend brunch where you want to add a little extra, or for a weekend dinner where you’re just craving something sweet.
The French toast is straightforward in terms of preparation. There’s a ton of warm spices so the French toast could be made at any time of year and really hit that sweet spot. If you’re using a larger pan or a griddle, no need to keep it to two pieces of French toast in the pan at a time!
The real star of this dish is the strawberry syrup. The sweet syrup (which is super easy to make) really balances out the warm spices of the French toast and provides some extra gooiness. Even better than using it on the French toast, the leftover syrup is great in some carbonated water with a little lime juice, or in some yogurt the next day.
The challah French toast with strawberry syrup was a simple and spice-forward version of what many may consider being the classic. The benefit to using challah is that it’s a rich bread and can absorb a ton of liquid, which can then become a delicious custardy interior once pan-fried.
The strawberry syrup was delicious and a cinch to do! I ended up using the strawberry pulp that is strained out like compote and ate with some of the French toast. I’ve also used it on vanilla ice cream with much happiness. A random note? tip? Because the challah doesn’t absorb all of the liquid, there is a fair amount leftover. I put some cooked rice in a pan and added the remaining mixture to make sweet fried rice. It was pretty decent and was a decent way to not waste the excess. If I had matzo I imagine it would make an excellent matzo brei.
Originally published August 29, 2021