Challah French Toast with Mixed Berry Compote
Challah French Toast with Mixed Berry Compote- Thick and fluffy challah bread makes the best french toast, especially when topped with mixed berry compote and lemon cream.
September 5, 2022 by Nicole Collins
It’s no secret that I love grocery shopping.
I’m sure we’ve talked about it many times before.
But my usual grocery store is very basic. There are many “fancy” or “specialty” ingredients that it just doesn’t carry.
So when I venture out to a grocery store that has the good stuff, I have a tendency to buy things that I can’t normally get solely because it’s right in front of me.
Burrata is an item that’s definitely on the “must buy it when I see it” list. But the problem is, sometimes I stress myself out when I buy things I don’t need or have a plan for.
That’s how we got to today’s recipe. Can you guess what else is on the “always buy it no matter what” list?
So today, we’re making the primary thing that comes to mind when I think of challah bread.
Today, we’re making Challah Bread French Toast with Mixed Berry Compote.
I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a hot minute. It was actually born during the “you can only eat what you can find in your fridge/freezer/pantry” phase of quarantine. And, I’d kind of forgotten all about it. But, when I encountered some challah bread at the grocery store last week, I knew what I had to do. I had to turn it into the creamiest french toast, top it with saucy mixed berries, and finish it with a tangy lemon cream that’s actually not cream at all.
So let’s get to it, shall we?
Let’s start with the lemon cream. I feel like french toast is one of the more decadent breakfast options. It’s usually loaded with sweet sauces and whipped cream. And that’s why it’s more of a treat breakfast to me. But we’re going to flip the script on the creamy element and use Greek yogurt to dress our french toast. We simply need some plain nonfat Greek yogurt, some honey, and some lemon zest. We’ll mix it all together and set it aside in the fridge for those flavors to blend while we work on the rest of our components.
We’re also going to remix the sweet sauce you’d usually find on french toast and make a syrupy mixed berry compote. We’ll take your favorite blend of frozen mixed berries, some lemon juice, and a little brown sugar; and we’ll let those simmer in a saucepan until the berries start to break down and thicken. Now you can make this compote using fresh berries too, but I actually prefer the frozen berries mixes you can buy from the grocery store. You know those berries are frozen at peak ripeness, so the flavor will always be top quality. Either way, once our berries are nice and saucy, we’ll let them cool down a bit. And, we can get working on our french toast.
When it comes to challah french toast, I want it to be THICK. So, I like to buy a whole loaf and cut it myself into 1 inch thick slices. And hot tip, if you put your pointer and middle fingers together, that width is about one inch. So you have a built in measuring tool to help you visualize how thick to cut your slices.
To make our french toast nice and creamy, we’re going to make a custard from a mix of eggs, heavy cream, milk, vanilla, and a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon. We’ll whisk it together really well. Then, we’re going to dunk our bread slices into that custard for a good 30 seconds per side. Since we’re slicing our bread so thick, we want to make sure that custard really has a chance to absorb into bread. The last thing we’d want is for our french toast to be dry.
From there, we’ll toast our french toast up in some butter in a warm skillet until it’s crisp and golden on the outside. And then, it’s time to assemble. Schmear that berry sauce all over the toast, and top it with a nice dollop of lemon cream. Add some basil or mint leaves if you want to add a little pizazz to the plate. And, it’s time to dig in.
What I love the most about this french toast situation is that it’s not cloyingly sweet. There’s some nice tartness coming from the lemon yogurt that’s balanced by the fresh sweetness of the berries. Combine that with the rich and creamy french toast, and it’s really a lovely breakfast that doesn’t leave you feeling like you over-indulged afterwards. But, it still leaves your sweet tastebuds more than satisfied.
Alright, everyone! I’ve been thinking about playing around with the concept of a savory french toast. Would you guys be into that? Should we keep this challah french toast theme going? Let me know!
In the meantime, enjoy! And, let’s eat!
Challah French Toast with Mixed Berry Compote
Serves: 4 Print
For the Lemon Cream:
½ cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon zest (grated lemon peel)
For the Mixed Berry Compote:
1 ½ cups frozen mixed berries
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
For the French Toast:
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup milk (I used 1%)
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 slices challah bread, sliced about 1 inch thick
Make the Lemon Cream: In a mixing bowl, mix greek yogurt, honey, and lemon zest. Stir to combine. Set aside in the fridge.
Make the Compote: Add berries, brown sugar, and lemon juice to a medium saucepan, and stir to combine. Bring to boil over medium high heat. Reduce to medium low, and simmer for 15-20 mins until the berries have become syrupy. Set aside to cool slightly. The mixture will thicken as it cools.
Make the French Toast: in a shallow bowl, beat eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt with a fork until the eggs have completely broken up. Dip each bread slice in the egg mix, soaking the bread for at least 20-30 seconds per side. Melt butter in a large non stick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Place the bread in the pan, and cook for 4-5 mins per side until the french toast is golden brown.
To serve, top each slice of french toast with a dollop of lemon cream and a spoonful of berry compote. Serve!
*You could make this french toast recipe with any kind of bread you have. You just won't soak thinner slices for as long in the custard mix. The cook time should be about the same, though.
*You can also make the compote with fresh berries instead of frozen. You can take off about 5 mins of cook time. Use any combo of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.