Breakfast week, you ask? That’s right, for one whole week every year it is foodie tradition to celebrate the wonder that is breakfast. I mean, if this isn’t one of the best weeks of the year, I don’t know what is (ok, so Christmas is well and truly over, the January blues have set in, and I’m trying to find ways to keep myself excited, but come on… breakfast week!! How awesome is that?!).
Since today is a Sunday, day 1 of my breakfast week is all about those indulgent weekend breakfast-in-bed-type-breakfasts.
I used to travel quite a bit with work, and one of my all time favourite places has got to be New York City. I was pretty much there by myself for 3 weeks which might not sound like the best trip ever, but I LOVED my weekends when I would get up and wander around Central Park in the brisk morning air to wake myself up. Then, when my toes got a little too cold, I would find a cute spot, settle down for brunch and watch the world go by.
When I say brunch, I’m talking about a mountain of buttermilk pancakes, fluffy french toast and soft, silky, melt-in-the-mouth omelettes. You’ve got to hand it to them, the Americans really do know how to do brunch!
So here’s a recipe inspired by my time in NYC and my undying love for all things sweet. This caramelized banana and cinnamon french toast is lightly crisp and golden on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. The caramelized bananas are TO DIE FOR and the apple compote adds a fruity tang that perfectly balances out the richness of the other ingredients.
This may not be your regular, everyday breakfast, but it is IDEAL for special occasions. Treat your loved ones to this and they’ll owe you big time!
Other combinations I love are a simple vanilla french toast covered in maple syrup, or nutella-filled french toast with a beautiful berry sauce. Share your favourites in the comments below!
To keep up to date on the other treats I have in store for breakfast week, just enter your email and hit subscribe in the bar on the right – it’s going to be a very good week!
- 600g apples (This is about 3 large apples. I have tried Golden Delicious and Braeburn which both worked well, just choose your favourites)
- 50ml apple juice
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 20g soft light brown sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon (optional)
- 2 bananas, peeled and cut into slices
- 100g caster sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 50g unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp water
- 4 thick slices of a brioche loaf (brioche is my absolute favourite, but not always the easiest to find. Here I have used Challah which works just as well, and I have even made this with a regular loaf of white bread before. If you do this, just make sure it is good quality, thickly sliced and a little stale so it holds together in the pan)
- 2 medium eggs
- 50 ml milk
- 1tsp cinnamon
- 25g butter
- You can make this up to a week in advance to save you time on your Sunday morning
- Peel and core the apples, then cut each one into slices (about 8) and place them in a saucepan along with the other ingredients
- Cover the pan and cook for about 30 minutes over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the apples have started to break up and are soft and tender
- Puree the mixture in a food processor or with a stick blender until smooth. If you prefer a more textured, chunky apple sauce, you can use a fork to break up the apples instead
- Transfer to a bowl, cover and store in the fridge until ready to use
- Heat the sugar in a saucepan over a medium-high heat until it starts to caramelise around the edges. Gently stir the sugar with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until it has transformed into a smooth, amber coloured caramel
- Continue to heat for another 2 minutes, being careful not to burn it, then remove from the heat and add the butter, vanilla and water - take care here as the mixture may bubble and splash when the cool liquids are added
- Stir in the bananas and return to the heat. Cook for about 2 minutes until the bananas have softened a little and have taken on the golden colour of the caramel
- To get the timings of this just right: soak the bread (instructions below) when your sugar begins to caramelise, and start frying the bread just before you add the bananas to the sauce
- In a large, flat dish, whisk together the eggs, milk and cinnamon
- Soak the brioche slices in the egg mixture for about 30 seconds on each side until soft, but still holding their shape
- Heat the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the brioche slices and leave them to cook, undisturbed for 2 minutes until golden and crisp. Turn the slices over and cook for another 1-2 minutes
- Once both sides are golden, remove from the pan and place 2 slices on each plate. Spoon over a generous helping of the caramelised bananas
- Serve with a sprinkling of icing sugar and the apple compote on the side
The apple compote has SO many uses – make a little extra and have it with your roast pork in the evening, warm it up and spoon it over your ice cream, or just eat it straight from the bowl as a yummy but healthy snack!
Oh, and here’s a snap from my NYC brunch days – take me back!!!