Sunday, October 4, 2009
This french toast is like none other! Egg battered sweet challah bread, topped with caramelized apples, candied walnuts, and freshly made cardamom whipped cream. You won't need maple syrup for this one!
This is the second installment of the Welcome Autumn: Apple Series. If you missed it, the first awesome apple recipe was Classic Apple Pie! And be sure to stay tuned for the last recipe of the series: Applesauce Spice Cupcakes, topped with a Caramelized Apple Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
A couple of weeks ago, Hubby and I took the ferry to Orcas Island for a romantic get-away. The views there were breathtaking and the food was exquisite! Hubby and I went to a great place for brunch- the New Leaf Cafe and Lounge. I usually like savory foods for brunch, but one item on the menu caught my eye: a super fancy french toast! Upon first bite, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was the most amazing french toast ever. The flavors were mind-blowing and I couldn't stop thinking about it ever since!
And like any good domestic goddess wanna-be, I promised Hubby that I would try my hand at it. He wanted to be able to have it upon request, as opposed to an hour's drive + a 1.5 hour ferry ride.
Start with the apples. You'll need 2 granny smith apples, chopped. We're making caramelized apples, which is basically apple pie filling. YUM!
Combine apples, butter, flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and water. Cook down the apples on medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes, until thick. Set aside to cool slightly.
Next, the cardamom whipped cream! This is the best part of the french toast. It plays a crucial part in the flavors of this dish. It's so refreshing and delicious!
Before this amazing dish, I didn't know what cardamom was. I ordered it because the description sounded good. But after the first bite, I immediately knew that it was the unique taste of the whipped cream that make this dish so amazing.
Cardamom is a unique eastern spice. It tastes like a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, and fresh citrus! It's the perfect autumn spice!
It's pretty expensive if you buy an entire jar. But I purchased a tiny amount of it at Whole Foods for less than a dollar in the bulk spice aisle. It sells for something like $2.79/oz. But you only need 1/4 of a teaspoon, so it's no big deal. Most places that sell bulk spice will have it.
Beat heavy whipping cream on medium speed until it doubles in size. Then add vanilla, sugar, and cardamom. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. The aroma of the fragrant spice instantly filled the room. It smelled so incredible!
Lastly, prepare the french toast. You'll need six slices of challah, cut about 1/2 inch thick. Challah is perfect for french toast. It can withstand soaking in the egg batter and it has a subtly sweet taste. Delicious! I could eat an entire loaf all on its own!
To make the egg batter, combine eggs, milk, and orange juice. Mix well until fully incorporated.
Coat the bread in egg batter and place on a buttered griddle on medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Top the toast with the caramelized apple, cardamom whipped cream, and candied walnuts!
I was making up this recipe as I went...and to our surprise, it tasted incredibly similar to the one we had on Orcas! The slightly tangy tartness of the granny smith apples, coupled with the sweetness of the french toast was the perfect flavor balance. The amazing cardamom whipped cream gave it an extra edge- super fragrant and citrus-y!
This is a definite must-try recipe!
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