Brioche French Toast infused with Earl Grey and topped with homemade blackberry jam makes for the perfect, indulgent breakfast or brunch. The buttery brioche bread gets dipped in an Earl Grey infused custard making this delicious, easy recipe one that your family will love for a weekend treat or a Mother’s Day brunch.
If you are an avid Earl Grey Tea fan then you’ll love the sweet buttery brioche bread that gets infused with the bergamot scented tea leaves. The homemade blackberry jam is totally optional - but in my view, it’s a winner spooned on top of your French Toast.
It’s no secret that I love Earl Grey and have used it in some of my favourite recipes. The Earl Grey Yogurt Cake and Earl Grey Lemon Cupcakes both hit the combination of simplicity and flavour to perfection, whereas my Earl Grey Crème Brûlée Tart hits all the right notes for a weekend baking project. But if you want to jump head long onto the Earl Grey/Blackberry train with me then you'll love my Earl Grey Cupcakes filled with Blackberry Curd.
Back to our Earl Grey Brioche French Toast! 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 leaves about 15 minutes before you need to make the custard (alternatively, making it the day before for maximum flavour!), then it's a matter of whisking together your custard ingredients, dunking the brioche slices and frying them. Serve topped with your favourite jam or keep it simple with maple syrup and fresh berries.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Comes together in under an hour. With only a handful of ingredients needed to make your delicious 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 the earl grey brings to the dish is delightful.
- 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 French Toast recipe is perfect for you.
Aside from the brioche bread and the earl grey tea that might need a trip to the super market to buy, the rest if the ingredients used are pretty straight forward.
- 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 for like forever meaning you'll have them on hand whenever you fancy another recipe utilising 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, rich flavour.
- Eggs - Use large eggs and bring them to room temperature before using.
- Vanilla Extract - Adds just a little amount of sweetness to the mixture
- Optional topping, Blackberry Jam - Use a good quality storebought jam or make a batch of Homemade Easy Blackberry Jam ahead of time.
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
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 minutes. (or longer if you have the time!) Squeeze out and then remove the teabags before making the custard mixture. (Image 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
2. Make the custard. Add the infused milk, eggs and vanilla extract into a medium mixing bowl and whisk until incorporated. (Image 3 & 4)
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)
4. Fry the soaked slices. Heat a large frying pan or skillet over medium to high heat. Add a knob of butter and melt. Gently lay each of the soaked brioche slices into the frying pan (Image 7) and fry for 3 or so minutes unto golden brown on the underside (Image 8). Flip over and fry for a further three 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 in a warmed oven until you finish frying the remaining slices.
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 drizzle of maple syrup
Variations / Substitutions
This homemade Brioche French Toast recipe is wonderful as there is just plenty of various option in how to customise the recipe. In terms of toppings for your French TOast you can choose from Greek Yogurt, whipped cream, lemon curd, warmed honey, maple syrup, toasted nuts, chopped fresh fruit such as blueberries, raspberries or banana.
- 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 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 laid in a baking dish and the custard 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.
- 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
Frequently asked questions
I gre up with French Toast being made from day or two old French bread (or baguette). In any French household baguette is bought fresh daily and served throughout the day. French Toast or ‘Pain Perdu’ is literally translated as lost bread. The French would make French Toast to save throwing out this stale bread.
Baguette, brioche or challah are the more popular breads to use. They have plenty of flavour and can carry the custard well. I wouldn't recommend a soft white bread as it'll lack the same flavour and will soak up the custard 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 a 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 sure fire 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.
How to store and freeze
To store: Place any leftover French Toast in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
To freeze: Cool the Brioche French Toast on a wire wrack. Once cool place a piece of parchment paper in-between each slice and stack them up. Wrap the stack tightly in foil and place 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.
Tools you’ll need
- Medium mixing bowl: Used to whisk the custard mixture.
- Baking Tray: You can use a shallow bowl and soak one peice of French Toast at a time but using a 9x13in baking tray means that you can soak numerous all at once. It's all about saving time!
- Large fry pan: For the same reason of using a large baking tray to soak the slices in, we use a large non-stick frying pan to fry four slices at once.
More Breakfast recipes that you may enjoy
- French Lemon Crêpes with Lemon Syrup
- Banana Ricotta Pancakes
- Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing
If you tried this Earl Grey Brioche French Toast or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you're there!
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Brioche French Toast Infused with Earl Grey Tea Recipe
- 420 ml whole milk
- 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. Take care not to scald the milk. Remove from the cooktop and let the tea bags steep for 15 minutes. Squeeze out the the bags and remove.
- Make the custard. Add the Earl Grey 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 to high 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.