I reviewed Food Network celebrity chef Sunny Anderson's pumpkin-pecan-pie French toast.
When I make French toast, it usually tastes too much like eggs, so I hoped this would be different.
Delicious and decadent, this dish is a new favorite of mine that I plan to make all season long.
I'm usually hesitant to make French toast at home, but the ingredients for this recipe are mostly simple.
As a fan of both pumpkin and pecan pie, I couldn't resist trying this recipe for autumnal French toast from celebrity chef Sunny Anderson, a host on Food Network's "The Kitchen."
When I make French toast at home, it usually tastes too much like eggs, so I was interested to see if this pumpkin-pecan-pie version would be any different.
This recipe includes some standard ingredients that were easy to find, like cornflakes, pecans, pumpkin puree, whole milk, and pumpkin spice. I also had many of the other items — such as butter and brown sugar — on hand.
It also calls for Texas toast, but the grocery store didn't have any that wasn't loaded with garlic, so I found a loaf of French bread and let it sit in its package on the counter for two days to get a little stale before cutting a couple of thick slices.
The original recipe makes eight pieces of French toast, so I cut it down to a quarter to make two.
I was a bit disappointed since this recipe also includes instructions for butterscotch syrup, but I couldn't find butterscotch or pecan liqueur at any stores near me, so I just stuck with regular maple syrup.
I started by preparing my batter and crust mixture.
In one bowl, I combined an egg, milk, sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin-pie spice, and pumpkin puree to make a thick batter.
On a separate plate, I mixed cornflakes, pecans, and a little bit of salt for the coating.
The crust stuck to the batter pretty well.
I love crispy French toast, but I expected achieving that texture at home would be difficult. Luckily, coating the bread in cornflakes and chopped pecans turned out to be an easy task.
I dipped my bread into the batter until it was dripping but not yet soggy, then coated the other side. I placed each soaked slice onto the plate of cornflakes mixture and pressed it down until the surface was coated.
I also carefully rolled the crust of the bread, which had a little bit of batter on it, into the cornflakes-pecan mix.
The hardest part of this recipe was waiting for the French toast to chill.
The batter smelled so good that it was tempting to throw the French toast straight onto a hot griddle, but I placed both slices on a tray in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.
Just before that time was up, I heated a cast-iron pan on the stove with equal amounts of butter and vegetable oil.
It was tricky to fully cook the pieces without burning the cornflakes coating.
I used tongs to carefully place each slice in the pan, working gently to avoid knocking off the coating.
The first side turned golden brown in about seven minutes, but it was a bit challenging to make sure the batter was fully cooking into the bread before the pecans began to burn.
I flipped the slices and draped a metal basting cover over them to help trap heat and cook the batter while the bread fried. This worked like a charm, leading to a crispy exterior and soft center that was fully cooked.
The other side of the bread only took about five minutes to fry.
This pumpkin-pecan-pie French toast is a new favorite of mine.
Aside from a few burnt pecans, this recipe turned out great. The soft interior provided a nice textural contrast to the not-too-tough shell.
Plus the pumpkin-spice flavors strongly came through. I finally found a French-toast recipe that doesn't taste like eggs, which I suspect is thanks to the pumpkin puree in the batter.
I loved the crunch from the cornflakes and pecans, but I think next time, I'll try using a food processor to crush them into extra-small pieces to prevent them from burning.
I also hope I can get my hands on some butterscotch and pecan liqueurs to try this with Anderson's butterscotch syrup, although it still tasted great with the maple variety.
The dish is also surprisingly versatile.
Since I had a lot of leftover cornflakes and pumpkin puree, I tried this recipe again, switching things up by leaving out the pecans and crushing the cornflakes in a food processor. I kept the batter the same and prepared it per the original instructions.
I served it with additional toppings — sautéed apples, crushed walnuts, whipped cream, and a sprinkle of pumpkin spice — and it was an incredibly sweet and decadent dish. I'm surprised this seasonally flavored French toast is so versatile.
I think it would also be great with flambéed bananas or even some ice cream, but regardless of the toppings, this recipe will be a staple of mine during the colder months ahead.
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