With the flavor of fresh orange infused into every bite, this Orange Marmalade French Toast will make any morning feel bright and sunny!
What’s so great about French Toast?
As I mentioned in my Cinnamon-Cardamom French Toast recipe, French Toast is one of those memory inducing meals for me. It makes me think of Sunday mornings, when my father was home (this was the 60’s and 70’s and there was a war going on. Oh man, I’m old), and after frying up some bacon in a cast iron pan he would barely wipe it out and start making French toast.
It wasn’t anything fancy, just some Wonder Bread, dipped in egg and milk, and sprinkled with cinnamon, but I can still taste that bacony, cinnamony toast today. Anyway, this Orange Marmalade French Toast is probably way too fancy for that little girl and her dad, but it sure hit the spot around here.
Ingredients for Orange Marmalade French Toast
- Thick Sliced Bread You can make this Orange Marmalade French Toast with any bread you enjoy, like the fresh baked challah I used here. If you can find (or bake) an unsliced loaf of your favorite bread, all the better. I like a nice fat slice so that it doesn’t absorb too much of the egg mixture. I know some recipes go for a real custardy texture, but that’s just not my jam. If you like it that way, slice thinner, and/or soak your bread longer.
- Eggs My ratio of eggs for French Toast is one egg for every two slices of bread. I use thicker bread slices and that always works out perfectly.
- Fresh Fruit For the topping of this French Toast you can certainly use frozen fruit if your fruit of choice is out of season but, if you can, use fresh. I had some ‘not so plump’ blueberries and some ‘could be sweeter’ strawberries in my refrigerator, but the orange juice and zest brought out all their fruity goodness.
- Oranges Plump, juicy, and very orange. That’s the note. Don’t come in here with your half green, hard oranges. Nope.
- Orange Marmalade Made with both the peel and fruit of citrus fruits, marmalades combine the sweetness of jam with the bitterness of the citrus peel, for a much more… robust flavor. The syrup that you’ll make with the marmalade is amazing poured all over this French Toast.
- Maple Syrup Please. Please. Please, don’t use “pancake syrup”. It’s nothing but flavored, colored sugar and so very sad. Invest in real maple syrup. You’ll be glad you did.
- Milk Making the custard for dipping the bread requires milk. If you have a milk of choice, almond, oat, soy, feel free to substitute. If you are going for dairy milk, use whole milk if you can. We’re having French toast here. Treat yourself.
How to put it all together
- Slice the bread I don’t know about you, but I like nice fat slices of bread. That way they won’t get too soggy with the custard we’ll make in the next step. I am aware that some people like a real custardy French toast, and you can do what you like, but don’t tell me about it. 😂 I found a beautiful loaf of challah bread, but you can use whatever bread and thickness you prefer. Slicing it ahead gives it a chance to dry out a bit and soak up some, but not too much, of the egg mixture.
- Make the custard This is the egg and milk mixture that the bread will be dipped into. I add the zest of a whole orange and two tablespoons of orange juice into this (save the rest for the syrup), and you can add more if you want. In a nod to my Dad, I add a touch of cinnamon too.
- Marinate the fruit I grab whatever fruit I have in the fridge, even if it’s a little bit… mature. It just needs love and a bit of orange juice and sugar to lift it up.
- Make the marmalade syrup This is a simple blend of orange marmalade (I prefer Bonne Maman for its flavor and quality), maple syrup, sugar, and the juice of an orange. It is simmered until slightly thickened, poured on top of the French Toast and fruit, and then you take a bite and sigh.
- Dip, cook, and eat I like giving the bread a quick dip in the custard (feel free to soak longer if you like), letting the excess custard drip off, then cooking the slices in a cast iron pan over medium high heat until toasted on both sides.
That’s it. There’s a few steps, but I put them in order so that it will all go smoothly. Before you know it, you’ll be sitting at the table, making Sunday memories of your own. May there be bacon 🥓
Orange Marmalade French Toast
- 8 slices bread of your choice ½ to ¾ inch thick is best
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk you can use the milk or milk alternative of your choice
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Orange marinated fruit
- 1 1/2 cup sliced fruit your choice (If your favorite fruit is out of season, or you just don’t have any on hand, frozen fruit will work just fine. Thaw and proceed.)
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp orange juice
Maple Marmalade Syrup
- 1/2 cup orange marmalade
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Juice of 1 orange minus 2 tablespoons for custard
- Whisk eggs, milk, orange zest, and cinnamon together and pour into a shallow dish, such as a pie plate. When I say whisk, I mean really whisk. I can’t stand it when there are clumps of spices on some pieces of bread and none on others. A vigorous whisking between each batch, when cooking, will avoid that catastrophe.
- Combine your fruit, sugar, and orange juice in a medium bowl. Gently toss and allow to sit at room temperature until ready to serve. If you’re a plan-ahead kind of person, congratulations on that, and also cover the fruit and refrigerate until needed.
- Place marmalade, maple syrup, sugar, and orange juice in small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, or until the syrup begins to thicken. Set aside to cool while you make the French toast.
- Place a wire rack set on a sheet pan in a 200° oven. This is where you’ll place the finished toast, to keep warm when done cooking. Warm a skillet or cast iron pan up to medium high heat. Drop 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan and allow to melt. Dip a slice of bread in egg mixture, turning to coat both sides evenly. Place a piece of dipped bread in the pan and cook 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip over and cook 2-3 minutes on the other side. Repeat with the rest of the bread. Serve with fruit and marmalade syrup.