There’s not too many times that I buy something for lunch partly because I want to use the leftovers for breakfast in a day or two’s time, but that did indeed happen the other day. I was running low on things to take for lunch for my son and I, but knew that where we were going was near a supermarket that we could pop in and get some bread and cheese to add to what we had. I had rolls in mind, and when I saw brioche rolls I immediately thought baked banana French toast for breakfast (the idea had been brewing before then) and so in the basket they went.
Different kinds of French toast
We have French toast now and again, but tend to go for the quick and easy way of slicing bread, soaking it quickly and frying in a little butter. Usually I just use egg, maybe with just a little milk but don’t tend to get round to ‘seasoning’ the egg/custard. However, I had often seen baked French toast recipes where you soaked the bread overnight. These seemed to lend themselves to making a bit more of a proper custard. Somehow the fact of preparing it the night before and doing a larger batch, it just made more sense, in my mind. I’m glad I didn’t make up this baked banana French toast until after I had already eaten. I needed to be full enough not to start eating it, as the smell from the custard was already delicious, even before I put it in the oven.
What makes this baked banana French toast
I decided to add in bananas because we all love them in our house. Furthermore, the taste when they are baked is intensified to add a fantastic natural sweetness to the dish. I still went for a little brown sugar mixed in with some pecans on top, though, just to give a delicious tasty crisp finish. The pecan-sugar mix goes so well with everything else and really finishes things off.
This baked banana French toast is a lovely mix of soft, comforting egg-custard soaked bread with a gentle spice and a crunchy nutty and sweet topping. The banana goes slightly gooey and has that great baked sweetness. The fact that it doesn’t take long to prepare but is also done in advance, ready to pop in the oven in the morning as you get your coffee or tea ready is all the better. Although it is tough to wait as the delicious smells drift from the oven, but it’s worth it once you dig in. And, most likely, come back for some more. It’s a perfect brunch dish, especially for a cold day.
- a small knob of butter
- 7oz/200g brioche/challah or Portuguese sweet bread
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup/240ml milk
- ½ cup/120ml heavy/double cream
- 1tsp vanilla
- ¼tsp cinnamon
- ¼tsp nutmeg
- ¼tsp ginger
- 1 banana
- 3tbsp pecan nuts
- 1tbsp brown sugar
- Rub a baking dish with butter to lightly grease it.
- Chop bread into chunks around 1-1½in/3-4cm across. Put them in the dish.
- Mix together the eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and pour over the bread. Toss any pieces that aren't covered in the custard and tuck them in so they form one layer, as far as possible. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning, preheat oven to 400F/190C.
- Peel and slice the banana and tuck the slices in between the bread. Crumble the pecans and mix with the sugar and sprinkle over the top.
- Bake for around 20 minutes until it's gently crisp on the top and soft but cooked underneath like bread pudding, or another 5-10mins more for a slightly dryer, crisper texture.