The other day I was running on the treadmill in our apartment gym and I flipped on the Food Network – literally the only channel I watch TV for.
Lucky for me the show on at the time was all about the best foods featured chefs had ever made. The recipe that immediately caught my eye and got my mind spinning was Paine Perdu – the most decadent, mind-blowing take on french toast ever. It, was, on.
I immediately ran upstairs and told John I had a recipe idea. The original recipe was LOADED with dairy in the form of half and half and butter – things I really can’t handle. So I wanted to make version that was just as decadent yet dairy-free. That fastest way to get decadence without dairy fat? COCONUT MILK. Plus, it just so happens that my favorite pie is coconut cream pie, so that flavor application was kind of a given.
This french toast starts at night – a step that’s not entirely necessary but recommended. The batter includes:
& Raw sugar
Whisk it all together then toss in your crusty bread (gluten free even!). Get some zzz’s and in the morning you’re ready to bake.
Because the slices of french toast are so thick, we first fry them up on both sides to get some color, and then finish them off in the oven to make sure they get cooked all the way through. After 10 or so minutes in the oven they’re just begging to be served and smothered with coconut cream pie toppings.
For starters, coconut whipped cream.
Ooh, baby. Next? MAPLE SYRUP.
Last but not least? Toasted coconut flake.
All right, seriously. Now we’re talkin’.
This french toast is INSANE. It’s:
Slightly crisp on the outside
Tender and custard-like in the middle
Sweet and decadent
Loaded with coconut cream pie flavor
& Perfect for feeding a crowd (1 slice per person is plenty)
After cooking mine up, I devoured a slice, John had one as well, and the rest went down to some very happy staff at our apartment who received the dish with big eyes and hungry bellies. The verdict? Some of the best french toast EVER, especially if you’re a coconut cream pie fan like me.
- 1 15-ounce can full-fat coconut milk (or sub light)
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 cup agave nectar, maple syrup, or honey
- 3 Tbsp raw sugar + more for sprinkling on top
- 7 large eggs (free range, vegetarian fed if possible)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 4 slices super-thick, crusty bread
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter or coconut oil
- Optional Toppings: Coconut whipped cream, toasted coconut flakes*, maple syrup
- In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the coconut milk, almond milk, vanilla extract, 3 Tbsp sugar, agave nectar, sea salt and eggs.
- Arrange your bread in a shallow, rectangular dish and pour your wet mixture over the bread. Let set for 5-10 minutes, then turn the bread over to soak the other side. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4-6 hours. (You will have leftover batter after cooking the french toast, which you can reserve for later use if desired.)
- The next day, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (232 C).
- Heat one large or two medium oven-safe pans over medium-high heat and add the butter or coconut oil. In the meantime, sprinkle some raw sugar on top of the bread slices. Working quickly, place the bread in the pan sugar side down and cook for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Sugar the top side.
- Flip the bread over and transfer the pan(s) to the oven until cooked through - about 12-15 minutes. It should have nice, dark golden brown color and be puffed up.
- Carefully remove from oven and plate - 1 slice per person is plenty. Serve with coconut whipped cream, toasted coconut flake and maple syrup.
*To toast your own coconut flake, bake unsweetened flakes for 3-4 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Watch closely as it burns easily.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 slice without toppings.
*Adapted from Food Network