Pumpkin Brioche French Toast

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Thick slices of fluffy, pumpkin brioche are toasted in a rich, vanilla custard and drizzled with warmed, sage-infused maple syrup. I like to have my pumpkin brioche French toast with fresh figs, a dollop of crème fraîche, and a generous side of bacon. Enjoy this easy breakfast complete with warm fall flavors for your next lazy brunch at home this season.

Plate of Pumpkin Brioche French Toast with fresh figs, sage, and crème fraîche.

When you’re feeling a bit lazy but want a full-scale brunch packed with fall flavors, this recipe is for you. In this simple recipe, thick slices of fluffy pumpkin brioche are dipped in a rich, vanilla custard for the most tender, and fall-ready French toast.

It’s delicious on its own with some maple syrup. However, I like to top mine with fresh figs, a dollop of crème fraîche and warmed, sage-infused maple syrup to keep the fall theme going.

Make sure to check out my other fall recipes: pumpkin porridge and pumpkin waffles.

Pumpkin Brioche Bread

What is brioche bread?

Brioche bread is a French bread that is fluffy, rich, and buttery. Because of its notable butter and egg content, it is categorized as a cross between bread and pastry, a viennoisserie. Croissants and danish pastries are other examples of viennoisseries. And while brioche bread is not particularly sweet, it is decadent, buttery, and delicious to snack on on its own.

If you can’t find brioche bread, I recommend using challah bread, which is also pillowy and perfect for French toast.

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Brioche

Where can I get Pumpkin Brioche Bread?

To make things easy, I get (seasonally available) Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Brioche Twist. It’s conveniently pre-sliced with the perfect thickness for making French toast. The rich, pillowy bread has a soft pumpkin flavor and glorious swirls of warm cinnamon spices.

I absolutely love using brioche bread for French toast. The soft, fluffy bread soaks up just enough of the custard so that you get the perfect proportion of custardy and still fluffy bread.

The Perfect French Toast Custard

The French toast custard is simple to make. I add:

  • 2% Milk. A lot of recipes recommend using heavy cream. However, I found it to be too rich and especially with the already buttery rich brioche bread. I also use the leftover 2% milk in another fall dish that I’ll post about pretty soon.
  • Cane sugar. I add a bit for some sweetness. Coconut sugar is my usual, go-to sweetener. However, it does add a brownish tint. I wanted to showcase the golden pumpkin color and decided to just use a bit of cane sugar.
  • Vanilla Paste.
  • Cinnamon powder. This is optional since the Trader Joe’s pumpkin brioche already has swirls of cinnamon throughout the bread loaf.
  • Salt. You only need a pinch of salt to round out the sweetness.

Close up shot of Pumpkin Brioche French Toast with fresh figs, crème fraîche, crispy sage.

Serve Pumpkin Brioche French Toast With…

Warmed Sage Maple Syrup. To be honest, I actually whipped this French toast recipe out as a result of ingredients I had left from another recipe I am testing out. With the leftover fresh sage, I decided to make an easy, sage-infused maple syrup. Its earthy, and slightly peppery, pine flavor elegantly complements and enhances the flavors of the pumpkin and fresh figs. I use this maple syrup for this recipe. Alternatively, you could lightly fry fresh sage leaves (see recipe notes) and use the crisped leaves to garnish and add that sage flavor to this dish.

Fresh figs. With the seasonal pumpkin brioche, I decided to add some seasonal, black mission figs. When ripe, the spongey, pink center is rich and syrupy with its honey-like juice. It also has a slight crunch from its many seeds. The warm sweetness works wonderfully with the sage and pumpkin flavors.

Crème fraîche. I like to enjoy this French toast with just a dollop of crème fraîche. Its bright and slightly tangy taste helps to cut some of the rich, warm flavors in this dish. This is also another ingredient from my other fall recipe that’s coming up.

Bacon & Sausage. While totally optional, I like to enjoy this sweet dish with some savory, crisped bacon or breakfast sausage. I always need something sweet with something savory.

Bowl of sliced, fresh Black Mission figs and crème fraîche.

Tips for making Brioche French Toast

  • Medium low heat – By cooking over medium low heat, you allow the custard cook to through without burning the bread. Using high heat will brown the outside of the bread, but leave the inside undercooked and soggy.
  • Use old brioche bread – When the bread is drier, it soaks up the custard even better. It’s a delicious way to use up some old brioche bread.
  • Use a shallow dish – Prepare the custard in a shallow dish so that it won’t spill as you dip the bread slices into the mixture.
  • Prepare ahead of time – This is already a pretty quick recipe. However, if you want to prep stuff ahead of time, you could make the custard the day before and store in fridge before use.
  • Keep leftovers – You can store leftover French toast in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge. It’s best to reheat them in a toaster oven. However, you can also reheat them on your stove-top.

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Mise en place

Pumpkin Brioche French Toast mise en place

If you make this Pumpkin Brioche French Toast, I would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment and/or recipe rating at the bottom of this page. And if you have a photo of your food, be sure to tag @chrisseenplace on Instagram!

Pumpkin Brioche French Toast

Thick slices of fluffy, pumpkin brioche are cooked in a rich, vanilla custard and drizzled a with warmed sage-infused maple syrup. I like to have my pumpkin brioche French toast with fresh figs, a dollop of crème fraîche, and a generous side of bacon. Enjoy this easy breakfast complete with warm fall flavors for your next lazy morning brunch at home this season.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Brioche, French Toast, Maple Syrup, Pumpkin, Sage
Servings: 1


  • 2 slices Trader Joe's Pumpkin Brioche Twist
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

Custard Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp 2% milk
  • 1 tsp cane sugar
  • tsp vanilla paste
  • tsp salt

Sage-Infused Maple Syrup

Recommended Toppings

  • 1 ripe black mission fig, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp crème fraîche
  • fried sage leaves (see notes**)


  • Whisk the custard ingredients together in a large shallow dish
  • Melt the butter on a large skillet over medium low heat.
  • Dip one slice of brioche bread into the custard mixture, flip to completely coat each side, and carefully place it on the skillet. Repeat this step until you can fit as many slices on the skillet without them touching (you can double this recipe for 4 slices of French toast).
  • Cook the slices for 2 minutes or until it is golden brown. Flip the slices and cook for another 2 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  • Transfer the cooked French toast to a large serving plate. You could keep them warm in the oven at 200F on a baking sheet until you are finished cooking the rest of the slices and everything is ready to be served.
  • Add the fresh sage leaves and maple syrup to a small skillet and simmer on low heat for about 2 minutes. Discard the sage leaves, and set aside to serve with the French toast.
  • Assemble the French toast with some sliced, fresh figs, a dollop of crème fraîche, (optional) fried sage leaves, and sage-infused maple syrup. Serve immediately.


How to make fried sage leaves:
  1. Add a thin layer of canola or sunflower seed oil to a small skillet over medium low heat.
  2. Add fresh sage leaves in a single layer, and let them fry for about 30 seconds or until they crisp up making sure to flip them halfway through.
  3. Transfer them to a cooling rack or over some paper towels on a plate.

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