Here’s a little trivia for ya; in Australia, Winter is Strawberry season. Also, Christmas is in the middle of Summer. And we ride Kangaroos to school, but that’s another story for another time.
So, whilst we unfortunately miss out on eating a juicy strawberry on a Summer’s day, we do get to enjoy the most delicious, fragrantly ripe strawberries with our french toast in Winter.
And let me tell you, as trade offs go, it’s not that bad. There’s something kind of cool and Narnia-ish about a ‘Winter Strawberry’. It sounds elusive and mystical. It makes me want to listen to Stevie Nicks.
But I’m pretty sure that even out of season strawberries could be saved with this recipe.
The Brioche here is treated with a twist on my Never Fail French Toast – namely a splash of Brandy. But it’s perfect without it, or with a splash of vanilla instead.
Brioche really is the best bread to use for french toast, nothing else develops such a beautifully custardy texture, nor such a buttery taste. And if you can lay your hands on a brioche à tête, then you can have pretty, round fluted pieces of french toast, like mine in the picture!
And if those fluted edges, the gorgeous red strawberries, the golden custard and bright green pistachios help us to eat with our eyes, then the rosewater is what brings the aroma of this dish to life. That combination of a distant, subtle hint of rose along with the intensely savoury aroma of the pistachios and the burnt butter smell from the french toast…it’s divine.
NOTHING could draw me to the breakfast table faster than that. And I suggest you race me there, because like the Dread Pirate Roberts, I do not leave survivors.
- 1 small punnet of strawberries
- 2 tsp icing sugar (powdered sugar)
- ¼ tsp rosewater
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup milk
- 2 tsps brandy (or vanilla, if you prefer)
- 2 slices of brioche a tete, at least an inch thick
- butter and a drop of oil, to cook with
- chopped pistachios
- dusting of icing sugar, extra
- First, clean and hull your strawberries, and then slice them in half. Place the sliced strawberries in a shallow bowl, sprinkle over the sugar and rosewater, and then stir and toss together well. Set aside (in a warmish spot, if possible) while you make the french toast.
- In a wide and shallow bowl (I use a lipped dinner plate), whisk together the eggs, milk and brandy extremely well. Place one of the slices into the custard mixture and leave for about 30 seconds on each side, soaking in as much of the custard as possible, and then do the same with the second piece.
- When both pieces are soaked, you can sort of stack them and leave them in the bowl, while you heat a large non-stick pan with a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of oil over a medium heat.
- When the butter foams, add the first piece of french toast, and cook it slowly until it is golden brown on both sides, and cooked through. This will take about 3-4 minutes all up.
- Throw a new piece of butter and little more oil into the pan and repeat with the second piece.
- Serve each piece of toast with a big pile of glistening strawberries, a generous sprinkling of chopped pistachios, and a dusting of sugar. Gorgeous!