Banana Batter French Toast & Chai Scented Strawberries
16 each bread, ½ inch slices
2 each bananas, very ripe
1 cup milk
4 each eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp nutmeg, fresh grated
1 tsp kosher salt
clarified butter as needed
- From the picture, you can see that I used a standard 2 pound loaf. If you are using a different bread you may need to vary the number of slices. I’m not sure how much batter other bread will absorb so you’ll to have experiment and gauge for yourself. If you are using an artisan loaf like this, cut the bread into 1/2 inch slices (I got 16) and either let it dry out over night or put it in a 200°F oven for a little while to dry out. The lower the moisture level in the bread when we start the soak, the more custard it will absorb; which means more flavor throughout the french toast.
- While the bread is drying, drag out the blender put into it: the bananas, milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Blend on high until all of the ingredients are well combined. We are trying to avoid having lumps of banana in the batter. (Oh, did I mention that the inspiration for this dish was a favorite drink of mine: banana milk?) Place the dry bread slices in a baking dish and pour the french toast batter over the bread slices. Lift the bread slices to allow some of the batter to get underneath as well. Give the batter a few minutes to be absorbed into the bread slices; then turn the bread slices over. Continue to do this until the batter has been absorbed by the bread. If you start with a good quality bread that is sufficiently dry, you won’t end up with mush. Otherwise…I make no guarantees.
- In the meantime, rinse the strawberries and throw out any that are bruised or moldy. Hull the strawberries and cut them into small pieces and place them into a bowl.
- To the strawberries, add the sugar, orange zest, spices and grated ginger. Toss to coat fully and allow to sit out a room temperature. (If you want to do these the night before: cover and place in the refrigerator.) Taste the strawberries after a little while; you may need to add more sugar or adjust the spices. When I first made these, I had a little too much clove and cardamom for some; so I cut those back a little.
- Preheat your griddle or heavy bottom pan by placing it over medium-low heat. (I set the electric griddle to 325°F.) Grease your pan or griddle with the clarified butter. (I just melt the butter, dip a paper towel into it and wipe the towel across the surface of the griddle.) Place the french toast on the griddle and cook on the first side until GBD (golden brown and delicious looking) about 5 minutes.
- Turn over and cook the second side until equally golden brown; another 5 minutes. As always, watch your heat and make adjustments if it seems to be cooking too fast or too slow. If there isn’t enough room on your griddle to do all of the french toast at one time, place the french toast on an oven safe platter and place into a 200°F oven to keep warm while you cook the next batch.
- Serve with softened butter and the strawberries spooned over the top along with the syrup that has collected at the bottom of the bowl.