Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen
Melted butter for brushing
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups milk
1 Tbs. Cointreau*
Pinch of salt
Zest of 1 orange
5 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 slices brioche or other egg bread, each 1 inch thick
1/2 cup caramel sauce (store bought), warmed
6 Tbs. crème fraîche
Preheat a panini press to medium heat (between sandwich and sear). Brush the bottom griddle plate with melted butter.
In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, Cointreau, salt, orange zest, sugar and vanilla. Working in batches, soak the bread in the egg mixture for 30 seconds per side.
Place the bread on the griddle plate, close the lid and cook until golden and crispy, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut each slice in half diagonally. Divide the slices among individual plates. Top each with 2 Tbs. caramel sauce and 1 1/2 Tbs. crème fraîche. Serve immediately.
*The original recipe calls for Gran Marnier, which I never have on hand. Liquor stores often sell it in mini "airplane" bottles. If you don't want to include alcohol, you can omit entirely or use orange juice.
Pain Perdu (printable recipe)