French toast with mixed berries

  • For the mixed berries
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise, and seeds scraped out with a knife and reserved
  • Grated zest of 1/2 orange
  • Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 240ml water
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 280g strawberries, rinsed, tops trimmed, halved or quartered, if large
  • 280g raspberries
  • 280g blueberries, rinsed
  • For the French toast
  • 500ml full cream milk
  • 3 (7-cm long) cinnamon sticks, broken up into pieces
  • 6 large eggs
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 0.75 tsp sugar
  • 1 baguette (French stick), about 30cm long
  • 45g unsalted butter
  • Icing sugar
To prepare the mixed berries:
1) Combine the sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, citrus zests, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer very gently until syrupy, about 25 minutes.

2) Remove from the heat and add the citrus juices. Combine the berries in a bowl. Strain the warm syrup over the berries and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Reserve until needed.

To make the French toast:
1) In a small saucepan, heat the milk with the cinnamon, just until bubbles form around the side of the pan. Remove from the heat; set aside to steep for 30 minutes.

2) In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the nutmeg and sugar. Strain the milk into the eggs and discard the cinnamon pieces. Whisk to make a smooth batter.

3) Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Slice the bread with a serrated knife on the diagonal, into 18 pieces each 2.5cm thick.Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add half the butter. Dip 9 of the bread slices completely into the batter and add to the skillet. Cook the slices, turning once, until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining bread.

4) Transfer the toasts to a baking sheet. Bake until the toasts are warmed through and slightly puffy, about 8 to 10 minutes.

5) Divide the toast between the plates and dust with icing sugar. Top with the mixed berries and serve immediately.

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