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Meritage French Toast with Orange Butter and Passion Fruit Syrup
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Brioche bread, cut 1/2-inch or more thick, with crust
Butter for frying
Fresh strawberries, garnish
Passion fruit syrup
2 cups passion fruit puree
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Orange butter
Juice from 5 oranges
1 pound unsalted butter, softened
Zest from 2 oranges, minced
French toast egg batter
4 eggs
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Tahitian vanilla extract

Combine syrup ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer one hour. Let cool.

For the orange butter, simmer juice until reduced to 1 cup. Let cool. Whip butter, reduced juice and zest until smooth. Set aside.
Combine egg batter ingredients and let rest 15 minutes to blend flavors.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place brioche in egg batter and allow to bathe for 5 minutes, flip and repeat. Place on griddle with a little butter and cook until golden brown; flip and repeat. Transfer to a nonstick pan and bake 5 minutes, until French toast souffles.

To serve, cut in half diagonally. Place on warm plate and garnish with fresh strawberries and a scoop of orange butter, then pour on the syrup.

Josh Thomsen, executive chef, Meritage at the Claremont

Note: The amount of batter you’ll need for your French toast will vary according to type of bread and soaking time. This amount will make enough French toast to serve 3-4 people, and enough syrup and orange butter for many breakfasts. Both the syrup and the butter keep well in the refrigerator.

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