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Sally Lunn French Toast

Yield 8 servings
Three toppings, grilled figs, and Tennessee bacon make this buttery French toast worth rising for on Christmas morning.


  • 1/4 cup dried cherries or currants
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
  • 1 medium orange
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°)
  • 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • French Toast Custard
  • Warm Winter Fruits
  • Honey-Pecan Butter
  • Cinnamon-Maple Syrup

How to Make It

  1. Combine cherries, apple cider, and bourbon; let stand 30 minutes.

  2. Working over a small bowl to catch juice, remove rind from orange, using a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler. Cut pith away from rind. Finely chop rind. Squeeze juice from orange. Combine juice, chopped rind, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup butter, and saffron in a saucepan; heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Cool to 120° to 130°.

  3. Combine yeast and warm water in a 1-cup liquid measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.

  4. Combine flour, salt, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Combine milk mixture, yeast mixture, and 3 eggs; stir well. Gradually add liquid mixture to flour mixture, beating at high speed of an electric mixer. Beat 2 additional minutes at medium speed. Stir in cherries and liquid.

  5. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Stir batter well.

  6. Spoon batter into a well-greased 9" x 5" x 3" loafpan. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 30 minutes or until almost doubled in bulk.

  7. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°, and bake 20 additional minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

  8. Cut loaf crosswise into 8 slices. Cut each slice in half diagonally. Dip each bread slice into French Toast Custard, coating well.

  9. Arrange 8 half-slices of bread on a preheated greased griddle, and cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Repeat procedure with remaining bread slices, regreasing griddle, if needed.

  10. Cut a slit in top of each piece of French toast within 1/2" of edge. Stuff each pocket with 2 tablespoons Warm Winter Fruits. Serve French toast with Honey-Pecan Butter, Cinnamon-Maple Syrup, and additional Warm Winter Fruits mixture.

Christmas with Southern Living 1996; The Inn at Blackberry Farm