It’s the middle of November and my lavender still looks pretty good, even though it is the second flowering of the year which always means reduced flowers. The smell and taste is just as wonderful as it was in the summer. With 15 plants I am very happy this is a perennial in Michigan. One good thing about lavender you can harvest the flowers, dry them and use them all winter long and they smell and taste just as good as if they were fresh. The picture below was taken on Nov. 16, 2016 – you can see there are lots of flowers, they just are not as stunning as they were in early summer.
This recipe was on my “to make list” since July actually when Chef Mimi introduced me to Food with Friends: The Art of Simple Gatherings by Leela Cyd. If you would like to see what Chef Mimi made from this delightful book go here https://chefmimiblog.com/2016/07/15/food-with-friends/
I enjoy reading fellow bloggers posts because of their recipes or maybe they are a gardener or dog lover but I also appreciate those who have a love for cookbooks like I do. Some cookbooks I might never have known about; you know they are not famous Food Network Chefs or well-known in the culinary community like David Lebovitz or Yotan Ottolenghi.
Even though I enjoy my computer to occasionally look for recipes I prefer to sit down and browse through my many cookbooks or magazines. With Leela’s cookbook I was drawn to this lavender French toast; mainly because of the lavender as I already have a few recipes for French toast. Then a light went on and I thought to myself why not make my own brioche too since I have never made it before.
I went to my trusted source for bread baking, King Arthur Flour (KAF) and used their recipe for brioche. Yes, it does look like their bread except they braided it and there was more of a dome on the bread. This is classic brioche dough (so tasty) but it is denser and more cake-like than typical brioche, not making it a good choice for French toast. It’s definitely a delicious pound cake though; the flavor is there but not the texture. Julia Child has a lighter recipe that I will use the next time. I should have done my homework a little more thoroughly!
I did buy a Brioche loaf from Whole Foods (they did not make it) and used that as well.
Lemon-Lavender Brioche French Toast
- 3/4″ thick slices of brioche bread
- unsalted butter for greasing the baking dish
- 1 cup whole milk (I did use 2%)
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 whole vanilla bean, halved lengthwise (this and the extract add such great flavor)
- 1/2 to 1 tbsp. dried lavender flowers (the author listed 10 flowers and I added more)
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest, grated
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
You want to use stale bread so either leave it on the counter for a day or toast each side for about a minute. I made my own brioche and it was sturdy enough that it did not need to be toasted. I also bought some bread from Whole Foods (they did not make it) and it was very light and I let it get stale. The recipe is for 10 slices of bread from a big loaf.
Preheat the oven to 375°F and butter an 11×14-inch casserole.
In a saucepan, heat the milk and cream almost to a boil, then scrape the vanilla seeds into the pot. Add the vanilla pods too and the lavender flowers, cover, and turn off the heat. Let this mixture steep for 10 minutes, then strain the liquid through a sieve and remove the solids.
In a bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, lemon zest and vanilla extract until combined. Add a little of this mixture into the warm milk with a whisk, then add the rest of the egg mixture, whisking constantly so nothing curdles.
Dip each piece of brioche into the custard and arrange in the buttered dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Very buttery and very eggy – yum! Both breads not only tasted delicious but the aroma when my homemade bread was baking was heavenly!
Serve with maple syrup, a fruit syrup or try the syrup below which came with the recipe:
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest, grated
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- pinch of fine sea salt
Mix the above ingredients and serve with the French toast if desired.
Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com