ESC: Brioche French Toast with Blueberry Compote and Brown Butter Sauce, pg. 48
Very excited to share the first recipe I've made from Elizabeth Street Cafe's beautifully delicious cookbook. I took a little break after the holidays and after finishing Over Easy- I was so tired! I picked this french toast recipe as my first one for a few reasons. Firstly, it's an obvious bruncy-nod to book #1, which will remain in our hearts forever. Secondly, it's a fairly elaborate recipe, yet still basic enough to get things rolling quickly. (I had to make the Brioche using the recipe on pg. 167 as well as the classic Double Vanilla Ice Cream on pg. 144.) Lastly, I'm battling a nasty sinus infection and was in no fit state to go to the store (or be seen in public, honestly). I miraculously had all of the ingredients in my fridge and pantry to make this recipe. Did I mention it has a bunch of Thai basil in it? Way to win me over from the get-go..
With ESC's generous support, I am going to be sharing select recipes from the cookbook so you can get your hands dirty too. Thank you all so very much for following along!
Here we go!
Brioche French Toast with Blueberry Compote and Brown Butter Sauce
Yields: 4 Servings
Recipe Courtesy of Elizabeth Street Cafe
For the Blueberry Compote:
2 Cups (260 g) blueberries
1/4 Cup (50 g) granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
10 Thai basil leaves, finely chopped
For the Brown Butter Sauce:
8 Tablespoons (115 g) butter, divided in half
1/2 Cup (100 g) packed light brown sugar
1/4 Teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 Cup (60 ml) heavy cream
1 Tablespoon brandy (I used bourbon)
1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract
For the French Toast:
Canola oil or vegetable oil, for frying
1 Small handful Thai basil leaves
1 Teaspoon plus 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 Cup (120 ml) milk
1/4 Cup (60 ml) heavy cream
4 (1.5 inch/4 cm) thick slices of Brioche bread
2 Tablespoons (30 g) of butter, plus more as needed
4 Large scoops vanilla ice cream
Make the Blueberry Compote:
In a small saucepan set over medium-high head, combine the blueberries, sugar, and salt and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until all the berries have burst and the juice is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the compote cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil and reserve.
Make the Brown Butter Sauce:
Place 4 tablespoons (60 g) of the butter in a small saucepan set over high heat. Bring the butter to a boil, swirling (but not stirring) the pan now and then, until the butter turns hazelnut brown, about 4 minutes. Watch closely, as the butter goes from brown to burnt very fast. Immediately add the remaining butter, brown sugar, salt, heavy cream, brandy, and vanilla. Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce just until the brown sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Keep the sauce warm over low heat.
Make the French Toast:
Heat 1/2 in (1 cm) of oil in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Make sure the basil leaves are completely dry, then carefully place them in the oil. Stand back as you do this, since herbs are made mostly of water, and the basil will sputter and spit when first placed in the oil. Fry the basil, stirring to separate the leaves, until crisp, about 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the basil to a dry paper towel to drain. Sprinkle the warm, crispy basil with 1 teaspoon of sugar and reserve while you prepare the french toast.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius/Gas Mark 2).
Crack the eggs into a large baking dish (or another wide, rimmed vessel) and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add 2 tablespoons of the remaining sugar and the cinnamon and whisk until completely smooth. Whisk in the milk and cream. Place the brioche into the egg mixture and let the slices sit for a full minute until the undersides are soaked with the mixture. Turn the slices over and let them sit for another minute so the second sides are also thoroughly saturated.
Meanwhile, place a large oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter. Place the brioche slices into the skillet and drizzle whatever egg mixture remains, if any, over the slices. Cook the french toast until the undersides are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the pieces over and then place the whole skillet in the oven until the french toast is browned on the second side, about 10 minutes. (Finishing the french toast in the oven will ensure that all the egg mixture gets cooked through.) If your skillet is not large enough for all 4 pieces, cook the french toast in batches, adding more butter as needed, and finish them on a sheet pan in the oven. Place the french toast on a serving platter and top each slice with 1 scoop of ice cream. Top with blueberry compote and brown butter sauce. Garnish with some reserved fried basil and serve immediately.