Many of us love French toast which is browned and crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. It is not dry and it is not soggy. It has a rich, custard flavor (without being too eggy). French toast was developed as a way to eat day old French bread – dry right? Soak, brown in pan with butter, and then bake in oven to make crispy and puffy. The type of bread will determine how many slices you have and how long it is baked. Small French bread slices require less time and more slices to satisfy the hunger. Brioche is a French bread with a high egg and butter content. It is perfect for French toast as it is nice and thick, and soaks in the perfect amount of egg. You can actually taste the richness of the bread when you bite into it. If you can’t find brioche, buy a challah (another egg bread).
Some folks have come up with recipes for all kinds of variations of French toast that usually include more fat and sugar. Here’s a healthy way to enjoy your French toast breakfast: a topping of fresh fruits with a little maple syrup. It’s not really a recipe but just my point of view. I suggest you use whatever is in season and available in your market. Berries, bananas, grapes, orange slices, or melons are a sweet and refreshing way to start your day. Today I’m discussing what I call Florida French toast with a classic French toast recipe topped with sliced bananas, strawberries, and a little kiwi. If your fruit is naturally sweet, you don’t need to add sugar. Late winter is when the Florida strawberries are plentiful. They are a cool weather crop here and would not do well in our hot, humid summers. I do love strawberries.
If you know someone who cannot eat dairy (i.e. milk, butter, cheese), I once had French toast made with fresh orange juice instead of milk. Quite a departure from the classic French toast. It was amazing!
March is when the big Strawberry Festival is held. They should have cancelled it this year but didn’t. Florida Strawberry Festival is still a go for March 4-14 in Plant City, Florida. Due to ongoing pandemic concerns, the 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival has been scaled back and big-name concert acts on the Wish Farms Sound Stage have been cancelled. I certainly won’t be going, but there are plenty of foolish people running around Florida right now. Wait for another year before coming to visit us. Stay safe.
French Toast Florida Style
Use organic when available. Makes 6 servings.
French Toast Florida Style
- 1 loaf brioche or challah cut into 1" slices
- 3 whole eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of sugar
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 medium bananas sliced
- 1/2 pint fresh strawberries hulled and sliced
- 2 kiwi peeled and sliced
- maple syrup
- optional substitute berries for bananas and kiwi
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
- Slice brioche into six 1" slices
- In large bowl whisk eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt
- Place sliced bread in milk-egg mixture to soak (about 4 minutues)
- Turn and soak other side
- Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium heat
- Brown soaked bread about 3 minutes each side
- Complete in batches; add more butter if needed
- Remove browned toast to shallow baking dish
- Bake in oven until puffy and crisp (time depends on size of bread slices at 5 minutes up to 10 minutes)
- Optional sprinkle with confectioners sugar
- Serve topped with sliced fruit and maple syrup
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