I’m going to be real with you. The life of a rookie food blogger is not as romantic as you might imagine. Unfortunately, I don’t spend my life flitting from one great meal to the next. I do love to cook (obviously) and almost always find it restorative once I break out my chef’s knife and set about my task. But sometimes, I just don’t feel like it.
For instance, I’m not a morning person. For years I dragged myself out of bed before dawn to go to field hockey practice, I played throughout university, and my former teammates will attest that I wasn’t exactly a sparkling conversationalist or human until after practice was over.
This, my friends, is why my boyfriend Ryan is responsible for making breakfast on weekends (when I can’t convince him to go out for brunch in the city). This is his sole culinary responsibility in our household, aside from the occasional stint as sous chef. He prepares what we refer to as “tradish brek” (short for “traditional breakfast”): two over-easy eggs, Cavendish hashbrowns, bacon, and, very occasionally, toast.
Ryan and I met the old fashioned way, on the internet. When we were digitally courting, I asked him if he could cook and he said that his breakfasts were legendary. I asked what made them so special and he said two things, 1) the bacon – he always gets the nitrate-free kind from Saslove’s Meat Market, and, 2) the secret ingredient in his French toast.
What, you may ask, was his French toast secret ingredient? Drumroll please…cinnamon, the secret ingredient was cinnamon. I smiled and nodded, and said that I had French toast recipe of my own that I thought he might like. He suggested a French toast cook-off, I agreed.
While, his classic French toast, with just a hint of cinnamon, was tasty, I knew I had the ace up my sleeve with this Bananas Foster French Toast. After Ryan tasted his first bite of this, he said, “Goddammit.” And left it at that. Game, set, match.
I like to cook this up when we’re at the cottage after a luxurious sleep-in until 10 a.m. – you might have caught my step-by-step walk-through on my Instagram story last weekend. The photos here are from when I made this dish up at Ryan’s family cottage on Lake Nippissing in North Bay. I couldn’t resist the urge to throw in some photos from that beautiful place. It’s like a Group of Seven painting, isn’t it?
I hope you’ll use this recipe as a secret weapon next time you’re challenged to a brunch cook-off or just want to mix things up in your weekend breakfast routine.
- 4 oz unsalted butter 1 stick
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 2-4 bananas peeled and cut diagonally, 1/2-inch slices
- 3 large whole eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 demi-baguette cut diagonally, 1-inch slices
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- whipped cream optional
Melt the butter in a large stainless-steel skillet with a lid over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and whisk until it melts into the butter. Add the water and whisk until smooth. Cover and set aside while you prepare the French toast.
Whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks in a large bowel to blend. Gradually whisk in the milk, cream and vanilla. Dip the bread slices into the egg mixture, turning to coat and soak until they are completely moistened with the custard.
Heat a heavy, large griddle pan over medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter on the griddle. Working in batches, transfer the soaked bread to the pan with a slotted spatula and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Add more butter as needed for each batch.
To serve, add the banana slices to the sauce and cook until the bananas are almost tender, tossing gently, about 3 minutes. Transfer the French toast to plates. Top each with the banana sauce and whipped cream, if desired.
Recipe adapted from: Karamardian, Zov. Simply Zov: Rustic classics with a Mediterranean twist. Zov's Publishing, 2011.