Fall-inspired French Toast made with pumpkin puree and spiced with cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
In le français, French Toast is known as ‘pain perdu’ or ‘lost bread’. The idea being that soaking bread in a egg mixture and frying it saves dry bread from becoming ‘lost’.
If you ask me, this is the best idea since, well, sliced bread.
Actually, French Toast pre-dates sliced bread by many, many years. French Toast apparently dates back to the Middle Ages, while sliced bread wasn’t invented until 1928. So take that, sliced bread.
My only problem with this whole lost bread idea is that I rarely have bread that’s at risk of becoming ‘lost’. Fresh bread is usually eaten way too quickly – well before it gets a chance to become dry.
Alternatively, I’ll put most of the loaf in the freezer. Then feel like an idiot two hours later when I realize, ‘Dang, I meant to use that for French Toast!’. Sure, I could always take the bread out of the freezer again, but I always figure I’ll buy more bread another day.
Then I’ll put the next loaf in the freezer – or it’s gobbled up within two days – and the whole process starts again.
So I finally decided that I’d had enough of waiting for my bread to become lost. It was time to bring out the big guns: the power of the eternal ‘dibs’.
Everyone within a one-mile radius of my fresh loaf of sourdough bread was informed that I had dibs on six slices (this recipe only makes four pieces, but I wanted a few extra just to be sure). And six middle slices – I wasn’t going to be left with the tiny end pieces.
Of course no-one dared violate the all-important dibs, and that precious bread was mine. Mission accomplished.
This breakfast is basically pumpkin pie in French Toast form. Since I love to be generous with the maple syrup when serving the French Toast, I don’t add any sweetener to the egg mixture.
That being said, I’ve only ever tried this recipe with fresh pumpkin puree, which is sweeter than the canned variety.
If it’s possible, I’d highly recommend making your own pumpkin puree. Nothing beats the puree from a freshly roasted pumpkin. It’s packed with flavor, has a hint of natural sweetness, and it also doesn’t have that random ‘tin’ taste.
I usually roast a ton of pumpkin at once, blend it, and use puree through the week. But if you’ve got a can of pumpkin open, then I don’t see why that wouldn’t work for this French Toast. You may just want to add a teaspoon or so of maple syrup (or brown sugar) to the egg mixture to help counteract the tin taste.
I know it’s the end of the pumpkin-crazed month, but I certainly hope no-one’s suffering from a case of pumpkin boredom just yet.
Especially if you’re celebrating Thanksgiving next week and/or making a pumpkin pie. Even if you are tired of all the pumpkin madness, surely there’s always room for pumpkin pie (or Pumpkin Spice French Toast, for that matter)!
Yes, that thing exists!
A product called Pumpkin Spice Pet Cologne actually exists. Yes, really.
- For the French Toast
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup milk
- 4 slices dry bread (2 - 4 days old)
- Fresh berries
- Maple syrup
- In a bowl, whisk together the egg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Add the vanilla extract, pumpkin puree and milk, and whisk until completely combined.
- Place the bread slices in a single layer in a large dish. Pour over the French Toast batter, and flip the slices to coat them completely. Let the slices sit for 15 minutes, flipping them after 10 minutes.
- Preheat a skillet over medium-low heat. Grease with cooking oil spray, and then add the soaked bread (cook the bread in batches if necessary).
- Cook the bread for 4 - 5 minutes on the first side. Flip, and cook for 3 minutes on the other side. The French toast is ready when each side is lightly golden and flecked with a few darker patches. Adjust the stove heat as needed.
- Serve the French toast with fresh berries and a generous amount of maple syrup. Enjoy!
If possible, use fresh pumpkin puree (preferably from a roasted pumpkin). Fresh pumpkin puree is more flavorsome and sweeter than canned.
Whole milk, low-fat or skim milk will be fine in this recipe. Alternatively, almond milk works too.
The batter should be reasonably thick, but if it seems way too thick (or there isn't enough to coat the bread slices), stir in some extra milk.