If you like Sundays and if you like breakfast, I’m sure you’ve met French toast before. From its humble beginnings during the Roman empire (apparently there’s not much that’s French about French toast), many centuries ago (more or less, who knows for sure, I wasn’t around at the time), French toast has traveled the world and made acquaintances with many. Stale bread, soaked in a mixture of beaten eggs and milk and then toasted in a frying pan with some butter… that’s what breakfast on weekends is supposed to be! But try telling that to someone who is severely lactose intolerant though…
In this third and final installment of my Mother’s day inspired post, I’ve got Dairy Free Basil & Nutella French Toast with Strawberry and Black Pepper Compote, that I KNOW my lactose-intolerant mum (and sister) would go absolutely nuts over! This follows my Dairy Free Nutella (Mocha Hazelnut Spread) and Dairy Free Brioche Bread recipes from last week, and here I bring them together for the ultimate weekend breakfast that everyone can enjoy, those with lactose intolerance included!
But please don’t let that stop you from enjoying this with regular Nutella and Brioche bread (or any type of bread you like). The awesome flavour combinations here will hold true regardless. My mum on the other hand hasn’t been able to eat Nutella or brioche bread for a while now (since she was diagnosed with lactose intolerance), and she’s most certainly not alone in that regard. But hey, don’t let those milk proteins hold you back. Where there’s a will, there’s a dairy free version of your favourite foods.
My family loves french toast. Growing up, we used to eat it fairly often. But, it was never sweet! We never ate it with syrup or icing sugar, but always with salt and black pepper, chilli sauce and sausages if we were lucky!! So it was always savoury to some extent. The idea of sweet french toast was alien to us for a long time, but once we made that discovery, we soon grew to love it!
The idea for this recipe came about a few months ago, when Mr K and I had french toast with regular Nutella and brioche bread. I was talking about it with my mum and my sister and they loved the sound of it so much that they kept asking me for ways to replicate it without the dreaded dairy for them. Fast forward a few months, and their prayers to the dairy free godmother have been answered with this Dairy Free Nutella French Toast recipe!
That delicious hazelnutty/chocolatey center, beautifully soaked toast that taste like custard, the freshness of the basil… that combination is so good, you can eat this just like that, with nothing else. But why settle for great, when you can shoot for exceptional? The tangy sweet strawberry compote with a hint of heat/spice coming from the black pepper gives it that extra zing that will make you come back to this time and again.
I cannot think of a better Mother’s day gift than a breakfast this good!
A few notes on the recipe –
If you use my dairy free brioche; this bread is super soft and it will soak up the egg mixture like a sponge. So don’t keep it in the egg mixture for too long. In and out.
If you use regular bread that is denser; leave it in the egg mixture for a little longer to soak up the egg mixture. Typically bread that’s a little stale and have firmed up, hold up well after soaking up the egg mixture and works better for french toast.
I used a generous amount of my dairy free Nutella, but when I make this with regular Nutella I use less. My DF Nutella has a thinner consistency than the regular one and gets absorbed by the bread a little too. So I used more of it to get a generous coating on the bread.
The basil, strawberry and black pepper combination here is fantastic! It’s a flavour combo that you cannot go wrong with and I hope you try it too! The bread is infused with the beautiful basil flavour, and the hint of black pepper brings out the sweetness of the strawberry fruit compote really well too. And then some whipped cream (dairy free, see recipe) and a dusting of icing sugar on top to make it a truly indulgent weekend breakfast.
You will need my Dairy Free Mocha Hazelnut Spread Recipe
and 6 slices of my Dairy Free Brioche Bread Recipe for this.
If you want to veganise this recipe – you can adapt the recipe by substituting the egg custard according to the notes at the bottom of the recipe (source from Minimalist Baker)
- 10 g basil (leaves and some stems)
- 3 eggs
- ⅓ cup of coconut milk (or soy milk, almond milk or any other lactose free milk)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 8 oz strawberry, fresh or frozen (but thawed), washed
- 3 tbsp sgar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp black pepper (or 1 tsp if you prefer extra heat)
- 6 slices of Dairy Free Brioche Bread (Link at the top of the recipe) (Vegan Bread for vegan option or any other kind of bread you prefer, one day old bread is better but not required)
- Dairy Free Mocha and Hazelnut Spread (Dairy Free Nutella - Recipe Link just below the Recipe)
- Vegetable oil for pan frying
- Coconut cream (the solid fat part that gets collected at the top in a coconut milk can, whipped to make it lighter OR soy whipped cream)
- Black Pepper (optional)
- Icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
- Place the strawberry, sugar, pepper and lemon juice in a small saucepan on medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring it to a simmer. Simmer till you have a compote to your desired thickness (I wanted it extra thick, so I let it simmer for a few minutes).
- Set aside to cool to room temperature and store in a jar in the fridge.
- In a small processor, place the basil leaves, eggs, vanilla, sugar, salt and coconut milk and process to chop the basil and mix it through the egg mixture well.
- Place the egg mixture in a shallow dish.
- Heat a non-stick pan with oil to medium-high heat. On one slice of bread, spread the chocolate hazelnut (Nutella) paste generously and cover with another slice of bread. Repeat with the other slices.
- When the oil is hot, dip the bread (one side at a time) into the basil egg mixture and then place the sandwich on the non stick pan.
- Fry the french toast, one side at a time until it turns golden brown (about 2 -3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your bread slices).
- Cut the sandwich in half, top with strawberry compote, coconut cream, an extra sprinkling of black pepper and a dusting of icing sugar.
For the Custard instead of the eggs and milk, substitute with
1½ cups of Soy milk or Almond milk
1½ tbsp chia seeds ground to a fine powder
and proceed with the recipe as in the steps above.
Mr K isn’t as big a fan of Nutella as I am, but he couldn’t keep away from this one! The fact that my DF nutella isn’t as sweet and indulgent as the regular one may have had something to do with it, but also, this recipe used just the right amount of nutella that paired really well with the basil infused bread that’s silky and custard-like once it has been dipped in the egg mixture. The basil gives the bread a lovely green coloration which doesn’t hurt appearances one bit either.
The strawberry compote is truly the “
chberry” on top, if you will. The fruity tartness and sweetness brings all the flavours together and the hint of black pepper accentuates that strawberry flavour even more. It’s really no surprise that we have had this many times for brunch on Sundays over the last few months.
Here are a few more awesome ideas for a french toast and nutella combination.
Nutella and Banana French toast from Girl and the Kitchen. This I have had, and I love!
Nutella and Strawberry French toast Roll ups (yes… roll ups!) from Recipe Tin Eats. This takes french toast to a whole new level.
Nutella French toast roll ups from The not so creative cook.
And Nutella stuffed Churro French toast from Cafe Delites.
With options like these, you shouldn’t have to wonder how to jazz up your breakfast/brunch this Mothers Day or any weekend! Plus, if your mum/wife is lactose intolerant, you cannot go wrong with this for Mother’s day breakfast! 🙂
(Plus you can use my Dairy Free Mocha Hazelnut Spread as a substitute and turn any of these recipes into Dairy Free Nutella French Toast breakfasts!)
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