Today, Wylie Dufresne is known for his inventive and delicious donuts, which he serves up at Du’s Donuts & Coffee inside The William Vale hotel in Brooklyn, and he’s still revered for his groundbreaking cooking at WD~50. But on weekend mornings, Wylie puts his Willy Wonka–esque culinary skills to use for his family, cooking pancakes, eggs and this sure-fire French toast for his wife and kids.
At home in Manhattan, they cook on a customized BlueStar RNB gas range. “My wife and I designed the kitchen and we wanted to make sure that we had a range with great firepower and ample oven space, similar to what you’d find in professional kitchens,” Wylie says, noting that his wife is an excellent baker.
Their setup includes side-by-side convection and standard ovens, so they can cook at different temperatures at the same time, as well as four burners split to either side of a 24-inch griddle. It’s a professional-quality kitchen befitting culinary royalty, but for Wylie and his wife, it’s about having options and the space to enlist the whole family in making crowd-pleasing dishes like this French toast. “Cooking is an important part of our lives—and getting our kids involved in that has been a great joy and they love it.”
What’s the secret to Wylie’s soul-satisfying French toast? He says to dredge the bread in the egg mixture, then place each piece in a hot sauté pan with either oil or clarified butter. This crisps the edges before the bread gets drained and placed in the oven to puff up, creating the crunchy-luscious contrast that makes this dish such a family favorite.
Wylie Dufresne’s French Toast Recipe
- 4 slices challah bread, cut 1 1/2″ thick
- 1 qt. heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil or clarified butter
- Powdered sugar and maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350F (with convection if it’s an option).
- Place challah in high sided baking dish.
- Warm heavy cream with 1 cup sugar until fully dissolved. Pour over bread and allow to soak for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Place oil (or clarified butter, my preference!) in a high sided sauté pan and set over medium heat.
- Whisk remaining 1/2 cup sugar with the eggs vigorously.
- One at a time, carefully dredge each piece of bread in egg/sugar mixture and place directly into sauté pan. Once golden on one side (about 1-1/2–2 minutes), flip and color on the other side. Drain well on paper towels and place in oven on a sheet pan for 5 minutes, until warmed through and nicely puffed. Remove from oven and dust with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup.
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