My good friend Renee got me a gorgeous cookbook for Christmas called Sarabeth’s Bakery. Have you heard of it? It’s filled with recipes for sophisticated bakery treats and I spent an entire evening drooling over all the lovely step by step photos. It was actually this book that inspired my resolution this year to become a master at whipping up fancy breads and pastries.
I was originally planning on baking the croissants first, but spontaneously decided to make the challah bread this weekend instead, mainly because I was in the mood for some French toast! I don’t have much bread baking experience (although our class at King Arthur Flour was really helpful!), but the recipe in the book was really detailed and easy to follow and my challah turned out perfectly! I was so proud. This is my favorite shot because it looks just like the one in the book – yay!
The next day I turned most of the loaf into classic French toast, but of course I couldn’t resist coming up with a fun winter twist. I topped it with a compote of pomegranate arils, dried cranberries, clementine juice, and a touch of brown sugar. I also made a lovely clementine syrup. I really think one of my favorite parts of winter is that clementines are in season. They are one of my very favorite snacks and I probably average at least three a day! I think people usually boil the juice down with sugar to make a fruit syrup, but I was feeling lazy and only had a few clementines left, so instead I just stuck a bit of zest in some maple syrup and let is seep for awhile. Then I strained it out – success, the perfect clementine syrup!
French Toast with Pomegranate Cranberry Compote and Clementine Syrup
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
Zest of 1 clementine (1 teaspoon)
Pomegranate Cranberry Compote:
1 1/2 cups fresh pomegranate arils (from 1 large pomegranate)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Juice of 2 clementines (1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 slices challah bread (I used 14 ounces)
2 tablespoons butter
To make the syrup, mix syrup and clementine zest in a small bowl. Allow to sit for 20 minutes, then strain the syrup to remove the zest.
To make the compote, mix pomegranate arils, cranberries, clementine juice, and brown sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is gone.
To make the French toast, whisk milk and eggs together in a shallow dish and dip the bread slices in the egg mixture, two to three pieces at a time. Allow to soak for a few minutes, then heat ½ tablespoon butter over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Place soaked bread in the pan and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining bread and butter. Spoon compote over French toast and drizzle with clementine maple syrup. Makes 5 servings.
Nutrition: 478 calories, 11.2g fat, 3.0g fiber, 13.6g protein per serving
Cost: $1.57 per serving