Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hawaiian Baked French Toast

Warning: Consume with strong coffee to negate some of the calories.

Bob and I first had this version of baked French toast at Mary Spears and Phil Slott's house,our neighbors in Hawaii. That was nearly 15 years ago, and I've been making it for Sunday brunch ever since. (Well, not every Sunday, but having company is a good excuse to indulge.)

Today I made it for the Shay family, pictured above, our guests this week at Giorgio's Palace, aka Camp Aloha. Gloria and I used to work together in the emergency department of St. Lukes and Presbyterian hospitals and oh, the stories we share... Today I learned that her husband Keith can commune with our wild turkeys -- it's quite astounding.

Back to the baked french toast: This time I put a new twist on the tried-and-true recipe. I substituted half the milk with melted vanilla bean ice cream. I also added half a banana to the egg-milk-vanilla-ice cream mixture -- all of which I put in the blender before pouring it over the thick slices of Hawaiian sweet bread laid over the brown sugar-butter topping. A very epicurean Sunday brunch, brimming with Aloha.

You hardly need syrup with this french toast because the sweet stuff (butter and brown sugar) is on the bottom of the pan, so it's like an upside-down thing. So when you serve it, flip it over so the sticky caramel-like topping is on the top. We serve it with whipped cream or Cool Whip lite, and fresh fruit. Today it was strawberries and mango.

This is a do-ahead recipe; mix it up the night before, and refrigerate. Next morning you come dragging out all hung over to the kitchen, pull it out of the fridge and set it on the counter. Start the coffee, turn on the oven. When the coffee is ready, pop it in. 45 minutes later, it's ready. Don't forget to put on the Hawaiian music. Helps the hangover.

Overnight Baked French Toast
Serves 6
1 stick unsalted butter
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 cup brown sugar
12 slices sandwich bread -- or better yet, Hawaiian Sweet Bread sliced thick.
11/2 cups whole milk
6 lg. eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt

Combine sugar, butter and corn syrup in small saucepan. Stir mixture over medium-low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring to boil. Pour into 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Coat bottom evenly; cool.

Arrange 6 bread slices in single layer atop caramel, trimming bread to fit. Cover with remaining bread slices, trimming to fit. Whisk milk, eggs, vanilla and salt in bowl to blend. Pour over bread. Cover and chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake French toast uncovered until bread is puffed and light brown, about 40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut into six portions.


  1. OK, I'm going to have to try this recipe. I adore French Toast!

  2. If you don't love it I will personally come over and eat it for you.