We thought we would share a recipe with you from our cookbook that might be suitable for a long lazy brunchy-breakfast over the festive season.
These are an absolute favourite in the café when we had them on and are very easy to make – as well as being super fun and also extremely versatile. It also has that festive angle given the spices and nuts!
Our book is full of delicious recipes – available in all good bookshops. We also have it for sale in our cafes at the special price of €25 (or €29.95 with our gorgeous tote bag). We are also doing a special “Brother Hubbard Hamper” which includes the book, the bag and lots of special ingredients to use for the recipes in the books – email us email@example.com to order or ask for more details.
Thanks to Leo Byrne Photography for the wonderful accompanying picture of this dish.
BAKLAVA FRENCH TOAST
This is a thoroughly delicious and somewhat indulgent breakfast or brunch – but, that’s allowed over the festive season!
When we developed this simple recipe, looking for inspiration from the Middle East, we wanted to add something a bit special from the region, so we got the idea of using a baklava-style filling. You get the wonderful texture of the French toast, the juicy flesh of the roasted fruit and the crunchy, nutty sweetness of the baklava filling, all counterbalanced by the mascarpone. Try to use muscovado sugar if you can, as it has such a depth of flavour, but any brown sugar will do.
I should note that this is strictly a sweet French toast – I’m not sure that crispy bacon would work well alongside the baklava and mascarpone. However, if you fancy, leave them out and just serve the plain French toast with the apples and some bacon.
2 red dessert apples or pears (or a mix of both), cored and cut into 4–6 wedges
100g muscovado sugar
75g walnuts, roughly chopped
15g butter, melted
sunflower or rapeseed oil
seeds from ½ vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
4 thick slices of day-old bread (brioche or a light sourdough are ideal)
4 dessertspoons mascarpone
a few sprigs of fresh mint
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
First, roast the apples or pears. Toss the wedges in a bowl with 50g of the muscovado sugar. Turn the fruit out onto the lined baking tray and pop in the oven. Check after 15 minutes – the wedges should be nicely soft but still holding their shape. Roast for longer if need be, then put to one side (we serve the fruit warm as opposed to piping hot out of the oven). There will be a lovely caramel around the fruit that you’ll want to drizzle over the finished dish.
Next, make the baklava by mixing the walnuts with the remaining 50g of muscovado sugar in a bowl, along with the cinnamon. Pour over the melted butter, stir to combine and put to one side.
Now place your frying pan over a medium heat and add a little oil. While that’s heating up, crack your eggs into a bowl and whisk really well with the cream and vanilla. Pour this into a wide pan or bowl so that you can dip the bread in it easily.
Dip each slice of bread into the egg mix. Be patient, as you want the egg to fully soak in but not to the extent that the bread will fall apart. I recommend letting it sit in the egg mix for 20–30 seconds, then turn the bread over and repeat on the other side.
Lift out the bread, shaking off the excess egg, and put it in the hot frying pan. Fry, shaking it loose after the first 15–20 seconds, and cook for 2–4 minutes, until it’s decently browned underneath. Turn over and repeat with the other side. The bread should be lightly browned and the egg mix cooked through but not overcooked. If you think it needs more time, turn down the heat to low and let it sit until you feel it’s done (check by squeezing the bread or even cutting through to the centre and seeing if it’s still too wet in the middle). An alternative would be to cook the toast off quickly on both sides in the frying pan – repeating for all of the slices, essentially sealing them – and then placing the bread on a lined baking tray and finishing in the oven for about 10 minutes at 180°C, until cooked through. If cooking more than one portion, place the cooked French toast in a low oven to keep warm and repeat with the other portions.
Now, build your plate. Place 2 slices of French toast on each warm plate or in a wide bowl. Put 2 dessertspoons of the mascarpone on top, then crumble over 2 dessertspoons of the baklava. Divide the roasted fruit wedges over the toast. Finish by drizzling some of the caramel from the baking tray over the toast and scattering over some torn fresh mint.
Tips and Tricks
This dish can sometimes look a bit beige/brown, so spruce it up by scattering some fresh raspberries or pomegranate seeds over it. Or to get really fancy, try poaching your fruit in berry compote (recipe in the cookbook!).