Mum and I went out on a brunch date last weekend. I decided to be sensible and go for avocado and eggs on toast. Mum decided to live life on the edge and get what was to be some of the most lush and indulgent French toast I have ever seen.
This French toast was a brioche that was dipped in a coconut milk based soak and tossed in a little more coconut before being fried. It was then adorned with mascarpone, sour cherry compote and edible flowers.
After typing 'coconut french toast' into the google I found this recipe recipe here at The Brick Kitchen which gave me a good place to start. While Claudia's recipe included delish looking grilled peaches, the Canterbury winter was unable to be so fruitful so I opted for trusty imported bananas instead. The coconut salted caramel idea I did pilfer from her though because it is an amazing concept and seriously needs to be shared with as many people as possible. It is legit AF.
We needed some guinea pigs, or at least thats the excuse we used as a reason to invite our friends around for lunch. Brunch in the name of science I told myself.
The first hurdle I had though was acquiring brioche. I had plans to cheat and just buy some but after being unable to readily find some and then hearing that some bakery had it for $13 per loaf I set about making it myself. I prepped my dough the day before and let it rise overnight before baking the loaves on brunch morning.
My stand mixer and dough hook was up in Auckland so I made do with my electric hand beater equipped with those odd dough hook things that they come with. My expectations were low but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the hand held mixer. In fact I think they gave me a better bread. If you've got the time I recommend giving baking your own brioche a go. It is relatively easy and oh so satisfying.
I found the recipe I used here over at A Cookie Named Desire.
We thought we wouldn't have enough to go around but the below recipe is definitely fit for six! I could barely eat two slices before I wanted to explode. You can easily amend the quantities to suit the crowd.
Coconut French Toast with Mascarpone, Boysenberry Compote and Coconut Salted Caramel
Adapted from The Brick Kitchen
For the toast:
12 thick slices of brioche (1.5cm thick) - you can bake your own using this recipe
1 cup coconut cream (the remainder of the can from making the caramel)
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
Up to 2 cups of desiccated coconut to coat
Butter to fry
For the coconut salted caramel:
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup water
1/2 - 1 teaspoon flaky salt
For the boysenberry compote:
1 1/2 cups frozen boysenberries (or whichever berry you fancy)
2 tablespoons white sugar
Juice of half a lemon
Thread coconut, toasted gently in a pan until just golden
To make the caramel, heat the sugar and water together in a large saucepan until it turns a rich amber colour and in a separate jug, microwave the coconut cream until hot. Remove the hot sugar from the heat and gently pour in the hot cream, stirring constantly until all the cream has been added. If there are clumps of sugar return the pan to the heat for a minute or so to help dissolve them. Wait for the caramel to cool enough to taste then add as much salt as you deem delicious. Leave to one side.
To make the French toast, whisk together the eggs, coconut cream, sugar and salt. Heat a large frying pan to a medium heat and melt in there a good knob of butter. Dunk your slices of brioche in the egg milk making sure you soak each side for around a minute each. Then coat each eggy side with the coconut, just as if you were bread crumbing a piece of fish haha. Slap the toast in the pan and let it sizzle away until the underside is golden then flip to do the other.
While the bread is sizzling away you can make your compote. Pop all the ingredients in a small saucepan on a medium heat and boil away until the sugar has melted and the berries start to breakdown in structure. Use a fork to mash the berries if you want a smoother sauce, or you can leave them chunky.
Serve your french toast up in a hefty stack, drizzle in coconut caramel and berry compote, a good dollop or two of mascarpone, scatter over the banana and coconut flecks and enjoy!