I love Sundays; they are my favourite day of the week. Ever since we opened our business, we've been working every hour god sends: full-time jobs, plus the shop, the market and for me the blog on top of that, have left us with very little time to just relax. We have squeezed all our relaxation needs to Sundays, which explains why I love them so much.
I start the day around 9:30 a.m. (I like my sleep). I come down to the kitchen and do what I can't do any other day of the week: I cook a special breakfast! Wether it is chilaquiles, or huevos rancheros, pancakes, scones or anything else I feel like eating, I always make sure I cook a good breakfast. A few Sundays ago, I woke up with a huge craving for French Toast and it hasn't left me ever since! I've been experimenting with different breads and flavours.
I am extremely lucky to be able to source amazing bread at the market from Arun Bakery; Peter and Vlad lovingly produce some of the best sourdough in Dublin and having access to their creations every Saturday, I've been eating French Toast a lot! I am particuarly fond of their plaited brioche bread and been experimenting with it for a couple of recipes. It turns out the brioche worked out a treat in this recipe!
I wanted to add a Mexican twist to the traditional recipe, so I added some Mexican Piloncillo, which is made of crushed/juiced sugar canes that has been boiled and poured on a cone shaped mould to cooled. It has an incredibly smoky caramel flavour which is both earthy and sweet. Used in both savoury and sweet dishes, it is pure raw sugar heaven. Piloncillo is widely used in Mexican cooking and one of my Irish friends uses it in the making of his legendary home brewed nettle beer. If you are stuck, used dark demerara sugar, but be warned, it's not the same flavour.
Slice the bread and start making the Piloncillo Syrup. Put the piloncillo and the water in a heavy bottom pan, turn the heat on to medium high and let the piloncillo melt in the water stirring occasionally. Bring to the boil and lower the heat a little, let this dark syrup simmer for about 3 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Remove it from the heat and set it aside.
In a wide dish, put the eggs, cinnamon and milk and whisk lightly until all ingredients are combined. Add half of the piloncillo syrup to the eggy mixture and whisk in again to incorporate everything. Don't worry if the piloncillo syrup solidifies a little in the mixture, this actually makes for lovely bursts of flavour in the finish dish. Reserve the rest of the piloncillo syrup to drizzle it over the french toasts when ready.
Soak the brioche slices in the eggy mixture for about 2 minutes before turning them to soak the other side for a similar period. We want the bread to absorb as much of the mixture as possible without being completely soggy. That's why brioche bread works really well here as the structure allows it to hold well while soaking. While the bread soaks, heat a non-stick pan, I used my new little crepe pan, at medium heat. Drop a dollop of butter in the hot pan and allow it to melt and coat the pan completely.
Take the slices of soaked bread with an egg lifter and place them in the hot buttery pan. Cook them for about 2 minutes before flipping them to cook the other side for about 2 to 3 minutes too. Press the bread gently with the egg lifter or similar instrument to make sure all the egg cooks. The bread slices should be golden brown. Add extra butter to the pan if required. I cooked mine in 2 batches so I replenished the butter after the first batch was done.
Your 'Mexican' French Toasts are done! Serve them hot with a generous drizzle of the leftover piloncillo syrup, it's delicious! If you are making more than four, keep them warm in the oven while you continue cooking the rest. This dish goes super well with a couple of streaky rashers done under the grill until brown and crispy. Buen Provecho!