I’ve always been a sucker for the runt of the pack. The underdog, the unsung hero. There’s just something about a lopsided pie that makes my heart melt. I’m the kid who took home the ugly stuffed animal and begged my parents to choose the wonky Christmas tree. I have a soft spot for misfits, and today I would like to salute one of breakfast’s unrecognized heroes: french toast.
Sure, you could impress your guests with fluffy pancakes or elegant crepes. But don’t forget about good ole’ french toast! French toast is equally delicious and can be smothered in butter and syrup just the same. It’s a tad less fancy, a bit more simple. But with a bit of extra love, french toast can be extraordinary.
This morning, I treated the boys to french toast three ways. Bacon lovers, keep reading. Chocolate fanatics, get ready. Health nuts. . . well, this one is worth making an exception for!
To get started you’ll need to pick up a few goodies. I bought two huge loaves of fresh bread (one whole grain & one white), eggs, almond milk, and vanilla. For the filling you will need a big tub of ricotta. What you mix in the filling is up to you, but I went for bacon, honey, raspberries, almonds, dark chocolate, and bananas.
Pop your oven onto 200°c (about 375°f). Put some parchment paper onto a baking tray, and line up your thick-cut bread.
OK, now you’re ready to make the filling.
I made 3 variations: honey bacon, chocolate banana, and raspberry almond. You don’t have to make all three, but it’s nice to have a sweet & a savory option. If you’re strapped for time, then go for just one! You can always try another next week ;)
As I was making three different variations, I split my ricotta evenly into three bowls.
Now comes the fun part.
In bowl number two, mix the raspberries and sliced almonds.
In bowl number three, combine your bacon and honey. Instead of buying crispy long bacon strips, I went for a thick cut of unsmoked bacon. I chopped it up into little ‘bacon bits’, which were juicy and thick, and packed with a LOT of flavor. B’s brother was in town and was an awesome sous chef. He helped fry up the bacon bits, which were ready just in time to mix with the ricotta. I flaked a few almonds on top for luck!
Now, give them all a good stir.Once you’re fillings are ready, it’s time to prepared a nice little eggy bath for your bread. I used almond milk, but you could always use soy or dairy milk. Really, whatever you have on hand will work. My almond milk was sweetened, which added a bit of extra flavor.In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup of milk, 5 eggs, and 1 tbsp of vanilla.
Now it’s bath time!
Dip each slice of bread into your egg and milk mixture. Line back along the parchment paper. Now that your bread is soggy, it should be quite easy to cut a little pouch down the middle. Don’t cut all the way through or else your ricotta will drip out of the other side.
If you have any egg mixture left, spoon a bit into each slice of bread. Drizzle the rest all over the top. Now your bread is ready for the stuffing!
Spoon your raspberry / chocolate / bacon ricotta mix into the bread, and pop the whole tray in the oven. Next is the hard part. You’re going to have to wait 15 minutes for these babies to cook. Drink a cup of tea, wash your cutting board, and put your milk and eggs back into the fridge. DING. Your amazing-delicious-mouthwatering stuffed french toast is done!!
Oh. My. God. When you take these guys out of the oven, the ricotta will be melting. The top will be perfectly crisp, and the eggy bread will be sweet and fluffy, just as french toast should be!
If you’re cooking for a group, it’s fun to watch your guests carefully select one flavor, only to go back again and again, until they have tried all three! Erm, I didn’t do this. . . . ok yes I did.
French toast might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you want to make something fancy to impress, but with a bit of extra creativity and a few good ingredients, french toast can go from breakfast runt to radiant.
UPDATE: As a friend has asked . . . total cook time is about 30 minutes. 15 for prep and then another 15 in the oven. I promise this is a VERY easy recipe, even for those of you who don’t typically know how to make french toast. I don’t recommend starting this one on an empty stomach, or else you will find yourself sneaking bites of chocolate-banana-ricotta mix!
Just a last little note, you may have noticed earlier that I was wearing a red poppy pin with my blue dress. In the UK, the 11th of November is Remembrance Day, and a red poppy is used as a symbol to commemorate soldiers who have fought and died in war. In the USA, the 11th is Veterans Day, another holiday honoring armed service veterans. I have lived in both of these great nations, and am incredibly grateful to those who have served. Truly, thank you.