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Mandarin Orange French Toast Bake

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This Mandarin Orange French Toast Bake with orange syrup is incredibly satisfying and moreish. You’ll be walking on winter sunshine all weekend long.

This small-batch Mandarin Orange French Toast Bake is a quick and easy brunch recipe and perfect for the colder months. Topped with a special orange syrup and whipped cream, it's a spot of sunshine on a dreary morning. Get the recipe and more refined sugar free brunch recipes at naturallysweetkitchen.com #naturallysweetkitchen #brunch #easyrecipe #easybrunch #frenchtoast #frenchtoastbake #orange

How are we feeling about it being the first week of November? Seriously, how did this happen? I feel like it was only a few weeks ago that I was melting in the roasting heat of August, and now I’m bundled up in woolly socks with the radiator cranked up planning Christmas content. Insane. You know what else is pretty insane? This incredibly decadent Mandarin Orange French Toast Bake. You know this is going to be your weekend brunch project.

Fair warning: I’m a little weird. I love the taste of oranges, but I can’t stand the actual fruit. I’m pretty sure it has to do with the texture of the membrane – I can’t eat raw celery for the same reason – it’s the bitter, stringy casings that completely turn me off. Mandarin oranges, however, are a different story. When Christmas rolls around and the markets start building towers of mandarin orange boxes, I’m the first one to pile two or three cases into my cart. I can’t get enough. They’re juicy, extra sweet, and so tiny that the membranes don’t seem to matter.

I told you I was weird.

This Mandarin Orange French Toast Bake is one of my new favourite breakfasts. It’s perfect for the change of seasons as we start to crave more comforting, carb-heavy meals, but it’s also a small-batch recipe, so you won’t have a load of French toast leftover to tempt you during the week.

This small-batch Mandarin Orange French Toast Bake is a quick and easy brunch recipe and perfect for the colder months. Topped with a special orange syrup and whipped cream, it's a spot of sunshine on a dreary morning. Get the recipe and more refined sugar free brunch recipes at naturallysweetkitchen.com #naturallysweetkitchen #brunch #easyrecipe #easybrunch #frenchtoast #frenchtoastbake #orange

How to make French toast in the oven

I’m a huge fan of shortcuts when it comes to cooking, and I love me some French toast, so it’s no wonder I quickly jumped on the French toast bake bandwagon. Making French toast in the oven couldn’t be simpler, but you do need to start preparing the night before.

The evening before you intend to eat the French toast bake, mix together your custard, line your tin with the sliced baguette, and then pour the custard over the bread. Press the bread down firmly to coat it in the custard, then cover the tin and refrigerate.

In the morning, all you have to do is preheat the oven and pop the prepared French toast in to bake for 30 minutes. While it’s baking, you can prep your toppings, such as sliced fruit, whipped cream (or this mandarin orange syrup), and serve it up.

That’s it! You don’t have to stand at the stove flipping multiple batches of French toast and no one has to eat in shifts. Everyone can gather around the table and enjoy brunch together with minimal effort on your part. If that’s not a #SundayWin, I don’t know what is.

This small-batch Mandarin Orange French Toast Bake is a quick and easy brunch recipe and perfect for the colder months. Topped with a special orange syrup and whipped cream, it's a spot of sunshine on a dreary morning. Get the recipe and more refined sugar free brunch recipes at naturallysweetkitchen.com #naturallysweetkitchen #brunch #easyrecipe #easybrunch #frenchtoast #frenchtoastbake #orange

What is the best bread for French toast bake?

Now, I’m not a chef, but I have eaten (more than) my fair share of French toast in these last 28 years of life, and I would argue that the best bread for French toast bake follows the following criteria:

1. It should be crusty. The tougher and coarser the crust on your bread the better. A crusty loaf will hold up to overnight soaking and keep its shape instead of crumbling to bits when you lift it out of the tin. Once baked, the crust will also crisp up nicely, leaving you with that covetable crispy-edge-soft-centre situation.

2. The loaf should be at least two days old. Whether you’re baking or frying, a stale slice of bread will soak up more of the custard, imparting so much extra flavour into your French toast.

3. It shouldn’t be pre-sliced. In a pinch, you can make French toast out of sliced sandwich bread to satisfy a craving, but I wouldn’t serve it to company. Pre-sliced bread is often too soft and cut too thin, meaning it can’t handle the custard soak and will disintegrate into bits before you even get it into the pan. Splurge a little; choose the uncut artisan loaf.

I used a slightly stale white baguette loaf for this Mandarin Orange French Toast Bake, but you could also use longer French bread or a wholemeal artisan loaf if you want to be a little healthier.

If you also love mandarin oranges, you’re going to adore this Mandarin Orange French Toast Bake. It’s a sweet, tangy, warming spot of sunshine on a cloudy winter morning. Don’t forget to take a photo and tag me on Instagram @naturallysweet_kitchen if you try this out for yourself. It makes my day to see these bakes come to life in your kitchen.

This small-batch Mandarin Orange French Toast Bake is a quick and easy brunch recipe and perfect for the colder months. Topped with a special orange syrup and whipped cream, it's a spot of sunshine on a dreary morning. Get the recipe and more refined sugar free brunch recipes at naturallysweetkitchen.com #naturallysweetkitchen #brunch #easyrecipe #easybrunch #frenchtoast #frenchtoastbake #orange
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Mandarin Orange French Toast Bake

This Mandarin Orange French Toast Bake with orange syrup is incredibly satisfying and moreish. You’ll be walking on winter sunshine all weekend long.

Category Breakfast
Keyword French toast bake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chilling 8 hours
Total Time 50 minutes
Serves 3
Author Amanda | Naturally Sweet Kitchen

Ingredients

French Toast Bake

  • 1 medium white baguette
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 ½ tbsp unpasteurised honey
  • 1 tbsp mandarin orange zest
  • 75 ml mandarin orange juice
  • ½ tsp vanilla paste
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100 ml dairy-free milk

Mandarin Orange Syrup

  • ½ tbsp mandarin orange zest
  • 150 ml mandarin orange juice
  • 1 ½ tbsp unpasteurised honey
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Mandarin orange segments for serving
  • Whipped cream for serving

Method

French Toast Bake

  1. Lightly grease an 8 x 4 inch loaf tin with butter.
  2. Cut your baguette into roughly ¾-inch slices and line the tin with the bread. Don’t pack the bread too tightly, or it won’t have enough room to expand once you add the custard. You may have a few slices leftover.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and set aside.
  4. Add the honey, orange zest and juice, vanilla paste, cinnamon, and milk to a large bowl and whisk well to combine. Pour in the eggs and whisk until fully incorporated.
  5. Pour the custard evenly into the prepared tin, over and around the bread. Gently press the bread into the custard, making sure to drench the top crusts.
  6. Cover the tin tightly with foil and refrigerate overnight.
  7. The following morning, preheat the oven to 175°C and remove the tin from the fridge.
  8. Once the oven has heated, take off the aluminum foil and bake the French toast for 25-30 minutes. Remove the tin from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Mandarin Orange Syrup

  1. Combine the orange zest and juice, honey, and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Allow the mixture to simmer and thicken for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally.
  3. Once the syrup is thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon, decant the syrup into a small serving jug.
  4. Serve the French toast bake with the syrup, orange segments, and a generous helping of freshly whipped cream.

Notes

This French toast bake will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply pop back in a preheated oven for 10 minutes or until heated through.

This small-batch Mandarin Orange French Toast Bake is a quick and easy brunch recipe and perfect for the colder months. Topped with a special orange syrup and whipped cream, it's a spot of sunshine on a dreary morning. Get the recipe and more refined sugar free brunch recipes at naturallysweetkitchen.com #naturallysweetkitchen #brunch #easyrecipe #easybrunch #frenchtoast #frenchtoastbake #orange

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