Fall flavours are captured in this decadent French toast made with pumpkin and banana bread. Warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, which emphasise the sweetness of the bread, balance the pumpkin and banana in the loaf. Use the ripest bananas you can find for the finest flavour. The bread slices obtain a crispy, toasted, almost caramelised outside after being dipped in the custard and fried in butter, giving way to a pleasantly soft inside. The finishing touch of maple syrup, butter, and pepitas is ideal since they add crunch and salt to counteract the richness of the dish.
- Baking spray with flour
- 2 ½ cups (about 10 5/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (from 1 [15-ounce] can)
- 1 cup mashed bananas (from 3 small [about 4 1/2 ounces each] bananas)
- ¾ cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, divided
For serving: pure maple syrup, unsalted butter slices, and toasted, lightly salted pumpkin seed kernels (pepitas)
Prepare the Bread:
- Set the oven to 350°F. Spray baking spray liberally in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and put aside. In a sizable basin, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Place aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the eggs, pumpkin, bananas, butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until well-combined and smooth. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and blend with a rubber spatula until just mixed and there are no longer any flour streaks (some lumps may remain). Batter should be poured into the pan and the top smoothed.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour to 1 hour, 5 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. After 30 minutes, rotate the pan from front to back. If necessary, cover the pan with aluminium foil during the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning. Take the pan out of the oven, place it on a wire rack, and allow it cool for ten minutes. Bread should be taken out of the pan and given two hours to cool entirely on a wire rack.
Prepare the French Toast:
- Cut the chilled Bread into 12 equal slices that are 3/4 inch thick. Slices should be arranged on a baking pan in an equal layer. Relax for 30 minutes. In the interim, heat the oven to 200°F.
- In a shallow bowl, stir together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cardamom, and salt until the custard is well mixed and foamy. In a sizable nonstick skillet or griddle, melt 1 1/2 teaspoons of the butter over medium heat until frothy. One piece of bread should be dipped into the custard using a spatula or fork, then gently turned to coat both sides (you do not want it to get soggy). Repeat the coating process with two more bread slices before adding the covered bread to the skillet. Cook the bread for 3 to 4 minutes on each side in a skillet until golden brown. French toast should be moved to a baking sheet and kept warm in a preheated oven. With the remaining butter, custard, and bread slices, repeat steps three times (re-whisk custard between batches). French toast can be served with maple syrup, butter, and pepitas if preferred.
- Making bread and custard the day before cooking is possible. If you’d want to make more French toast the next day, you can keep half the bread and custard. The remaining bread can be carefully wrapped in plastic wrap and kept overnight at room temperature, while the custard can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
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