As of yesterday, Spring may have sprung! One of my favorite warm weather activities has to be having weekend brunches with my friends, enjoying eggs benedict and sipping mimosas, while lingering leisurely and people-watching from a sidewalk cafe somewhere on a quaint block in the West Village. But when I’m in the mood to sleep in, these French toasts are my perfect brunch solution. I got the idea for this recipe from Norma’s, after trying their brunch with my friend Amy who was visiting from out of town. My favorite part was the crunchy topping on the banana slices layered on the waffles, so I adapted it for a French toast recipe.
These toasts are cooked in butter until golden brown, with slices of banana piled on top and flambéed until they are nicely caramelized. Because, really, who needs an excuse to play with the kitchen torch? Last but not least, you’d probably want to top everything with a healthy drizzle of salted caramel sauce, which can be made ahead of time and reheated in the microwave right before serving. And if there’s extra, you can drizzle it over ice cream, enjoy it as a dip with some Granny Smith apple slices, or just to eat it with a spoon!
Delightfully sweet, salty, crunchy, gooey. It never hurts to have something a little decadent for brunch. Enjoy!
Banana Brulee French Toasts with Salted Caramel Sauce
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt
8 slices of thick-cut bread (challah and brioches are great choices)
2 bananas, sliced
2 tsps sugar
Salted caramel sauce, recipe to follow
In a wide, shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, and salt. Heat griddle or skillet over medium-high heat and coat with a thin layer of butter. Place the bread slices, one at a time, into the bowl or plate, letting slices soak up egg mixture for a few seconds, then carefully turn to coat the other side. Transfer bread slices to griddle or skillet, heating slowly until bottom is golden brown. Turn and cook the other side.
To assemble, arrange French toasts on four plates, and place banana slices on top. Cover banana slices with a thin layer of sugar, and burn with a kitchen torch until caramelized and crunchy. Serve warm with caramel sauce.
*Substitute half and half for the milk for a richer taste.
Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp light corn syrup
6 tbsps unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt
Mix sugar, water, and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high; boil, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until deep amber color forms, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat; gradually add heavy cream (be careful, mixture will bubble vigorously) and sea salt. Simmer over medium heat until the caramel sauce is smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Serve warm.
*If you prefer, you can also add up to 2 tablespoons of bourbon to the caramel sauce along with the heavy cream.