Pumpkin French Toast

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I first made this dish about four or five years ago. It made quite an impact. So much so that now I am not allowed to go a holiday season without making it at least once. Every year starting about mid-October, Matt pesters me about it every weekend until I make it. It’s okay. Every time, it’s always beyond worth it.

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I suppose it makes sense that Matt insists on this brunch dish every year, as French toast was his favorite breakfast item growing up. Me, I’m more of a pancake and waffle girl myself. French toast was always fine and I liked it, but I never went crazy for it. But I have now come to the conclusion that’s because, growing up, I never had French toast made with challah bread. Oh. My. Holy. Lord.

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What really makes this dish isn’t even the pumpkin, though that doesn’t hurt at all. It’s the challah bread you simply must use. Challah is an eggy, soft, braided bread that most grocery store bakeries should carry. It’s made with love, people. A whole lotta love. I get a whole loaf, not pre-sliced, and I cut BIG, THICK slices. It makes the most perfect French toast, pumpkin or otherwise. Try it, you’ll see.

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My other favorite part of this dish is the maple allspice butter that you pat on the hot toast slices. It melts and runs all over, and you get a little taste with every single bite. The allspice makes a wonderful complement to the pumpkin, not to mention the maple syrup that of course you’re going to drown them in. It’s a small touch, but really makes a difference.

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Source: adapted from The Mesa Grill Cookbook, by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:

PUMPKIN FRENCH TOAST:
1 heaping cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
6 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp kosher salt
8 (1 inch thick) slices day-old challah bread
4 tbs unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Maple syrup, for serving

MAPLE ALLSPICE BUTTER:
4 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp ground allspice
2 tbs pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

PUMPKIN FRENCH TOAST:
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, milk, cream, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Carefully pour it into a baking dish. Place the bread in the baking dish and turn to coat evenly. Let it sit for 5 minutes. You’ll probably need to do this in batches.
Use 1 tbs butter for every 2 pieces of French toast. How many pieces you can cook at a time will of course depend on the size of your griddle. Preheat your griddle to medium-low heat and melt butter onto it as directed. When it is completely melted, place 2 slices of toast for every 1 tbs butter on your griddle. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip, then cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet. Wipe the pan out and repeat with the remaining butter and toast slices.
Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
Serve 2 slices per person topped with a pat of Maple Allspice Butter and drizzle some maple syrup over top.

MAPLE ALLSPICE BUTTER:
In a small bowl, combine the butter, allspice, syrup, and salt. A fork works best for this, I think. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

4 responses to “Pumpkin French Toast

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