For this recipe, your bread selection and how fresh it is will affect how long it needs to soak before cooking. Traditionally, sourdough or challah that has staled a bit is used for French toast. Here, I use a pretty fresh loaf of whole wheat bread (closer in texture to challah). Less-fresh bread will need a minimum of an hour of soak time before cooking. Bread with more holes throughout the slices (like sourdough) will need less time, especially if fresh. If you oversoak these slices of bread, they can easily fall apart.
If you want to do something a little extra, try crusting it in Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It offers an extra layer of flavor and crunch to an otherwise soft dish. (Note, if you choose to crust your toast in cereal but oversoak your bread, it will not adhere.)
Lastly, for a little spooky feel, I paired it with a simple red wine syrup. Even if you don’t use it on the French toast, red wine syrup goes well with ice cream! This is the perfect pairing for adult French toast: not too sweet and leaving you wanting more.
Stout and Pumpkin French Toast
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 4 (1- to 1½-inch thick) slices of bread (I used a local favorite, Macrina Bakery’s Cider.)
- ¾ cup milk (I used whole milk, but feel free to use milk of your choice.)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
- 1 teaspoon cardamom, grounded
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, grounded
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- ⅓ cup stout (I used Metier Brewing Grandma’s Hands.)
- Optional: 2 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch, hand-crushed (should be about the size of cobblestone)
- Neutral oil
- 1 cup red wine
- 1½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- Place slices of bread in a single layer, in a deep dish, like a casserole or brownie dish.
- In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients except cereal and oil until combined. Pour over slices of bread, flip bread a couple of times in mixture. Let sit for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
- Place crushed cereal in a shallow dish. Remove a slice of bread from pumpkin stout mixture; let excess marinade drip off. Press bread into cereal on both sides. Repeat with remaining bread, and place crusted bread on flat surface until ready to cook.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat, add 1 tablespoon of neutral oil. Be sure the oil coats the pan. Place bread in skillet and slightly press down; cook for 2-3 minutes until a golden brown. Flip, press and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until deep golden brown. (Note: If you’re not using the cereal crust, cook on medium to medium-low heat 3-5 minutes on each side.)
- Remove and serve with maple syrup or red wine syrup.
Red wine syrup
- In a small sauce pot, combine sugar, red wine and orange zest.
- Bring to a boil. Let boil for 2-3 minutes, stirring with a stiff rubber spatula.
- Reduce to a lower simmer (low heat), and cook for an additional 20 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Sauce should begin to thicken (it should generously coat the back of a spoon). Remove from heat.
- Serve on French toast warm or after it’s cooled.