Crunchy Vanilla French Toast with Crème Anglaise (Inspired by Blu Jam Cafe)

The day I tried Blu Jam's Crunchy French Toast was the day my life changed. This dish is perhaps my favourite version of French Toast ever and is one of the key reasons Blu Jam is considered one of the best brunch spots in L.A.

Even with the wait, it is totally worth it. Situated on Melrose Avenue, you can put your name on the list, wander off and spend the next 45 minutes shopping before getting seated. The first time that Brian and I tried this dish, we sat there in utter silence savouring each and every bite. I did that thing I often do with dishes I fall madly in love with, and started making a mental note of all of the ingredients in my head so that I could go home and immediately go about recreating it.

Food this good should never be kept a secret. 

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I've since made this dish several times with minor changes and one little twist that I highly recommend is the use of frosted cornflakes! Having tried it both with regular cornflakes and frosted cornflakes, it really amps up the flavour! I also cannot stress enough the importance of using good quality brioche or soft challah bread.

Crunchy Vanilla French Toast with Crème Anglaise (Serves 2)

  • 4 slices of high quality brioche, halved
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups (40g) of Kellogg's frosted cornflakes, crushed
  • A small amount of coconut oil or vegetable oil for the pan

For the Creme Anglaise:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons (approx 40g) white sugar
  • 300ml half and half (or 150 ml milk and 150 ml double cream)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the Crème Anglaise (It is best to make this first or even in advance):

  1. In a small saucepan, heat up the half and half (or use half double cream and half milk) with some vanilla extract until bubbles start to form around the edges and milk mixture has barely reached a simmer. Turn off the heat. 
  2. Whilst the milk mixture is heating, whisk together the sugar and yolks in a medium bowl until blended. 
  3. Slowly add in half of the milk mixture to the yolk mixture whisking constantly. Once mixed, add in the remaining milk mixture until blended. Do not do this the other way around (i.e. adding the yolk mixture to the hot pan) because the heat from the pan will cook the yolks too quickly and the custard will become lumpy. 
  4. Once the milk and yolks are combined, return the custard to the saucepan and stir continuously over low heat until the custard thickens (170 degrees F/80 degrees C). The custard is ready when the consistency is thicker than heavy cream and if you coat the back of a spoon and run your finger along it, the structure should remain.  Try not to boil the mixture however, as the custard will start to curdle. If it does curdle, pass the heated liquid through a sieve or strainer.
  5. Allow the Crème Anglaise to cool whilst you prepare the french toast. It can be refrigerated for a few days if made in advance (and used on all kinds of desserts!). Please note that refrigerated Crème Anglaise will have a much higher viscosity - you can thin the liquid out again by reheating it for a couple of seconds in the microwave. 

To make the Crunchy French Toast.

  1. Whisk together the 2 eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a bowl. Set aside. .
  2. In a separate bowl, place the crushed cornflakes. To crush he cornflakes put it in a sealed Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin or your brute strength to crush it! 
  3. Now its time to make the toast! Preheat a large non-stick skillet with a little oil or coconut oil.
  4. Soak the bread in the egg mixture first, turning it over to coat on both sides. Let the excess drip off and then immediately put it in the crushed cornflakes coating both sides thoroughly. Repeat with all pieces of bread. 
  5. Once the bread has been coated with cornflakes, arrange the french toast in the hot pan, pressing down gently. Cook over low/medium heat (turning once to cook both sides) for approximately 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. 
  6. Serve warm with Crème Anglaise and fresh fruit.