The perfect weekend treat or a Mother’s Day brunch consists of this Earl Grey-infused Custard French Toast served with homemade blackberry jam. Buttery brioche bread dipped in a tea-infused custard is a revelation! Trust me!
You may think this is a fancy recipe - but I kid you not, it’s super simple to pull together. The milk gets infused with the tea bag about 15 minutes before you need to make the custard then it's a matter of whisking together your custard ingredients, dunking the brioche slices, and frying them. All done in 30 minutes!
I serve it with my Easy Blackberry Jam, whipped cream, and fresh blackberries as the combination of bergamot-scented tea and berries is delightful. I used the same flavour pairing in my Earl Grey Cupcakes filled with Blackberry Curd.
It’s no secret that I love Earl Grey and have used it in some of my favourite recipes including my Earl Grey Yogurt Cake, Earl Grey Lemon Cupcakes, and my Earl Grey Crème Brûlée Tart.
🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Comes together in under an hour. With only a handful of ingredients needed to make your delicious Custard French Toast, you'll be able to prepare and make this recipe in under an hour.
- Brioche Bread makes all the difference. Using this rich, buttery bread is a game-changer in the French toast world (!). You taste the richness of the bread in every bite adding SO much flavour.
- Earl Grey is a stunning addition. The additional flavour that earl grey brings to the dish is delightful.
- The perfect weekend breakfast. Whether you want to knock this breakfast up quickly or you have a special occasion that you want to celebrate, then this Custard French Toast recipe is perfect for you.
🧾 Ingredients Needed
Aside from the brioche bread and the earl grey tea that might need a trip to the supermarket to buy, the rest of the ingredients used are pretty straightforward.
- Brioche bread - Used for its lovely rich qualities. I use store-bought for ease but if you want to go the extra mile and make your own, I have a great guide on How to Make Brioche Bread.
- Earl grey tea leaves - You'll need 4 tea bags for your infused custard mixture. If you have to buy a box just for this, the good this is the tea bags last forever meaning you'll have them on hand whenever you fancy another recipe utilizing Earl Grey.
- Whole milk - Don't go with skim milk if you can help it - the fat content of whole adds to the richness. Some add double (heavy) cream to their custard mixture - I would do this if I were using white bread instead of brioche bread, but I think the brioche adds enough butter, and rich flavour.
- Eggs - Use large eggs and bring them to room temperature before using them.
- Vanilla Extract - Adds just a little amount of sweetness to the mixture
- Optional topping, Blackberry Jam - Use a good quality storebought jam or homemade if you have time.
This homemade Custard French Toast recipe is wonderful as there are plenty of options in how to customize the recipe to make the best breakfast.
In terms of toppings for your French Toast, you can choose from Greek Yogurt, whipped cream, lemon curd, warmed honey, maple syrup, toasted nuts, and chopped fresh fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, or bananas.
- Cinnamon French Toast: Omit the earl grey and add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder to the custard mixture. Once the brioche bread has been fried then sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar.
- Strawberry French Toast: Delish macerated chopped strawberries served with the Earl Grey French Toast makes for the perfect brunch recipe.
- Nutella stuffed French Toast. Ok - this is totally for all the chocolate lovers out there. Omit the earl grey from the recipe (or keep it in as earl grey and chocolate pair beautifully), sandwich Nutella in between two pieces of brioche bread and then soak in the custard mixture and fry accordingly. Oozing Nutella- yes, please! Take inspiration from Two Peas in a Pod's rendition. It takes decadence to the max!
- Baked Blackberry and Fig French Toast - In my Simply Sweet Nostalgic Bakes cookbook, I have this delicious recipe. Brioche slices are laid in a baking dish and the custard is poured over the top and studded with blackberries and figs, then baked in the oven. Quick, simple, tasty, and the perfect slow Sunday morning breakfast.
👩🏻🍳 How to Make
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
Infusing the tea into the milk is an extra step, but not a hard one. If you prefer, this step can be done the day before and the infused milk refrigerated until you need it. Just ensure it's at room temperature before making the French Toast.
The rest of the methodology is dead simple, but I've provided step-by-step photos and more in-depth instructions that you'll find in the recipe card to help you along.
STEP 1. Infuse milk. Add the milk and Earl Grey Tea Bags to a saucepan and gently warm the milk until warm and simmering around the edges of the pan. Take off the heat and allow the tea to steep in the milk for 15- 30 minutes.
Remove and squeeze out the teabags before making the custard mixture (Images 1 & 2).
TIP: My French Grandma always used to make the custard mixture with slightly warm milk and room-temperature eggs. The bread soaks the milk up that bit better.
STEP 2. Make the custard. Add the infused milk, eggs, and vanilla extract into a medium mixing bowl and whisk until incorporated (Images 3 & 4).
STEP 3. Soak the brioche. Lay half the brioche slices into a large baking dish. Pour half the custard mixture over the top of the bread slices and soak for two minutes (Image 5). Then flip with a spatula and soak for two more minutes (Image 6).
STEP 4. Fry the soaked slices. Heat a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Add a knob of butter and melt. Gently lay each of the soaked brioche slices into the frying pan (Image 7).
Fry for 3 or so minutes until golden brown on the underside (Image 8). Flip over and fry for a further 3 minutes until the second side is golden brown. Be careful not to burn the french toast- if you feel it is browning too quickly then reduce the heat.
TIP: Place the Brioche French Toast on a baking tray and keep it in a warm oven until you finish frying the remaining slices.
STEP 5. Repeat soak and fry. Repeat the process with the remaining four pieces of brioche bread. Soak in egg mixture and then fry. Serve immediately with the previously cooked slices.
Serve with blackberry jam, fresh blackberries, and toasted almond flakes. Alternatively, serve with a dusting of powdered icing sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup.
💭 Recipe Pro Tips
- Stale bread. Traditionally made with stale bread, if your bread is too soft and fresh (!) then toast until gently dried on the outside.
- Fry in butter. Definitely don't swap out the butter for oil. The butter gives a beautifully nutty note as it browns and you won't achieve that extra layer of flavour with oil.
- Medium heat. Don't be tempted to turn the heat up to make it fry quicker. You'll only end up with a burnt outside and a soggy middle where the custard hasn't cooked through.
📋 Recipe FAQs
Baguette, brioche or challah are the more popular bread to use. They have plenty of flavour and can carry the custard well. I wouldn't recommend soft white bread unless is stale (traditionally what French Toast is made from) as it will soak up the custard too much making it soggy and will possibly fall apart.
The bread you used was probably not ‘old’ enough. By this I mean it’s best to use stale bread as it means that it’s dried out. Then, when you soak the bread it won’t fall apart when you come to transfer it to the baking dish.
If your bread is too soft then lightly toast your slices as a cheats way of drying it out.
Using brioche bread in any dish that requires bread will be an instant game changer. With a high fat and protein content from the plentiful eggs and butter in the yeasted dough, using brioche bread is a surefire way to up your flavour levels. Some examples might be your simple toast in the morning, brioche buns for burgers, to croque monsieur to bread and butter pudding - it’ll be a delicious alternative to your regular bread.
❄️ Storage and Freezer Instructions
To store: Place any leftover French Toast in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
To freeze: Cool the Custard French Toast on a wire wrack. Once cooled, place a piece of parchment paper in between each slice and stack them up. Wrap the stack tightly in foil and place it in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight and warm in the oven or in the microwave heating on short 10-20 second bursts.
🥐 More Breakfast recipes
If you tried this Earl Grey Custard French Toast recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you!
Earl Grey Custard French Toast Recipe
- Large Frying Pan
- 360 ml whole milk, room temperature
- 4 Earl Grey tea bags
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 slices brioche bread
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Infuse the milk. In a medium heavy-based saucepan add the milk and tea bags and over medium heat warm through until simmering and bubbles appear on the edge of the pan. Remove from the cooktop and let the tea bags steep for 15 minutes. Squeeze out the bags and remove them.
- Make the earl grey custard. Add the infused milk, eggs, and vanilla extract into a medium bowl and whisk until fully combined.
- Soak the brioche. Lay half of the brioche slices in a large baking pan. Pour half of the Earl Grey custard mixture over the bread slices and soak for 2 minutes before turning over and soaking for another two minutes.
- Fry the soaked slices. Heat a large fry pan on medium heat and add a tablespoon of butter. Once the butter has melted add in the soaked bread slices carefully and fry for 3 minutes or until the underside is golden brown. Add another tablespoon of butter if required and flip the brioche slices and fry for another 3 minutes until the second side is golden. If the brioche starts to burn then reduce the temperature slightly.
- Repeat the soak and fry. Repeat this process with the remaining brioche slices until all are cooked. Add another tablespoon of butter before frying the second batch. Serve warm with freshly whipped cream, homemade blackberry jam, fresh blackberries, and slivered almonds (optional).
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
This post was originally published in May 2021 but has been updated with new photos..
Hi Emma, This sounds like an awesome recipe- I love the sound of the Earl Grey French Toast. Can't wait to try it out this weekend. Is it ok to sub the blackberry jam with another type of jam?
Hi David, Thank you for your comment- I do hope that you got the chance to make the french toast. If you love earl grey tea then it's a game-changer in this recipe- and so many more recipes! And yes! Earl grey pairs beautifully with lemons, raspberries, strawberries and so many more variations of fruit - so any type of jam or curd will be fab x
What an incredible breakfast. I have never infused anything with Earl Grey before and now I am hooked. From the buttery brioche to the whipped cream topping, this easy French toast recipe will be on the menu whenever I want to treat my family.
Thanks for sharing.
Earl Grey is such a beautiful, fragrant addition to so many baked goods and turns an ordinary bake to something totally extraordinary! It makes me so happy to have converted another baker into infusing Earl Grey into their bakes. x