Today I’m going to tell you a little story about a mild baking failure that was reborn as a heavenly breakfast dish the following day. Like a diabetic phoenix rising from powdered sugar ashes.
I’ve been working on refining a recipe for a hummingbird cake in bread form. The first loaf I made came out a little too dense and dry for my tastes so after some modifications the second loaf went into the oven. When it finished and cooled, I sliced off the end piece and knew I was on the right track because this time the bread was fluffy, moist, and delicious. Excitedly I started slicing off more pieces to plate for photographing, but as I made my way to the center I learned that the loaf was undercooked. The middle was far too wet as the bread really needed at least another 15-20 minutes in the oven. While I could have transferred it back to the oven to try and bake it through some more, I really wanted to be able to write up an exact cooking time when posting it to my blog. The only option for getting it right was to start the recipe from scratch again and to try and perfect the cooking time. Third time’s a charm, right? We will see when I make it again in a couple of days!
Now I am left with this poor, flawed loaf that never got to mature into its hummingbird adulthood. Don’t worry little guy, I won’t give up on you! I will wave my magic spatula and turn you into the best darned french toast ever.
I knew that my friend Chris (someone with more enthusiasm for eggs than is normal for any human being) would be over for breakfast. Considering I was going to be making French toast for him, a French toast without any eggs, I had my work cut out for me. Then of course there is Jah, who has never eaten French toast because he has never eaten eggs. I also wanted to make his first experience as enjoyable as possible. There would be judgement happening here, yo.
Seeing as the bread was already sweet and a little under-baked, I opted to do two things with the batter. The first was that I wanted to make it slightly savory with the addition of neufchâtel cheese (inspired by the use of cream cheese frosting on hummingbird cake). Second was that I wanted to brush on the batter rather than dipping the slices, so it wouldn’t be a soggy mess. Just enough to crisp up those edges. While this would have been delicious with a pat of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup I really wanted to play off the ingredients in the bread a little further. I whipped together a sweet caramel rum sauce with bananas, pecans, and cinnamon that was spooned over the top with a dusting of powdered sugar.
The verdict? Both of the guys loved it! As a matter of fact Chris said that I have ruined French toast for him forever because this version was way too delicious. If that’s not an indicator of the tastiness of the recipe then I don’t know what is. So if you find yourself stuck with a loaf of undercooked sweet bread, don’t lose heart. You can always turn that sucker around into something awesome. That said, you certainly don’t need a fail-loaf to make this tasty dish. Whatever bread you have lying around would work beautifully.
- 5 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon Ener-G egg replacer (use corn starch or flour if you don’t have this)
- 2 oz neufchâtel cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- Dash of cinammon
- Dash of salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinammon
- 1 tablespoon spiced rum
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 6 thick slices of hummingbird bread (any other dessert bread is fine)
- Additional butter for frying
- Powder sugar for garnish, optional
- In a small bowl whisk together the milk, egg replacer, cheese, vanilla, dash of salt and dash of cinnamon. Brush both sides of each slice of bread with a fairly thick layer of the batter. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. When it starts to bubble add sugar, salt, cinnamon and rum. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add in banana slices and pecans. Let simmer lightly for a few minutes until the bananas begin to soften. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and heavy cream. Transfer to a dish, cover, and keep warm while you prepare the toast.
- Wipe out the nonstick skillet and melt a small amount of butter in it on medium heat. Cook the bread on each side for 4-6 minutes or until lightly browned. Flip and continue cooking on the opposite side until browned. Serve with a spoonful of the banana topping and a sprinkling of powdered sugar if desired.
- The caloric information on this dish will vary depending on the type of bread you use. In my case the hummingbird bread is under 200 calories per slice. The batter and topping account for 140 calories.