Prepping the saffron: In a mortar and pestle, grind 3/4 teaspoon of saffron threads into a fine powder.
Making pumpkin French toast batter:
Cut the bread into 10 slices, then cut them in half.
For the custard, beat the egg yolks in a mixing bowl with 3/4 cup granulated sugar until you get a pale yellow foam; the texture of the egg yolks will be thicker. Add the milk, pumpkin purée, half the amount of ground saffron and salt.
Making saffron-flavored whipped cream:
Reserve a few tablespoons of cream for the saffron.
Always make sure your electric whisk is completely clean prior to whipping cream for optimum results. The whipping cream should be whipped cold. First, whisk the heavy cream for about 2 minutes at low speed. Increase the speed of your mixer and keep beating for another 2-3 minutes until it forms soft peaks. Add powdered sugar and the remaining saffron to the sweetened whipped cream. Add the reserved cream into the mortar and pestle to gather any remaining saffron powder (saffron is quite expensive, so don't waste it!). Pour the saffron liquid into the whipped cream. Mix until the color is uniform. Don't over-beat or the texture will become grainy.
Soak each slice of bread in the French toast batter.
Place a non-stick pan over medium heat. Grease it with a little butter (count about 2 tablespoons per 4 slices of bread). Melt it and wait until it's nutty and fragrant. Place 3 to 4 slices of soaked bread and cook for about 2 minutes. Flip them and cook for another minute.
Serve with saffron-flavored whipped cream and top with sprinkles (if used). Drizzle with maple syrup (if needed).