Learn how to make this quick and easy French toast recipe, topped with amaretto stewed apricots and toasted almonds, delicious for breakfast, brunch or as a cheeky dessert.
If you have made my homemade brioche recipe recently, you must have been tempted to make French toast the next day to use up leftovers.
French toast (pain perdu in French) is one of the three classic breakfast dishes besides pancakes and waffles that are not only popular in the mornings but can be eaten as dessert too.
Having worked in hotels through most of my career, French toast is one item that was always been on the menu! Topped with chocolate mousse and caramelised bananas, they made for an indulgent breakfast!
But pairing these buttery fried French toasts with amaretto poached apricots and lemon ricotta, maybe a combination you haven't tried. Amaretto brings out the delicious flavour of apricots and the syrup can be drizzled over your toasts!
So if you are looking for a creative, innovative and a new topping to enjoy your French toast with, then this recipe is a must try!
What you need
Brioche is my preferred bread for French toasts but can be replaced with raisin bread, sourdough or any other leftover bread slices.
Eggs and Milk are the base for the French toast.
Vanilla and Sugar to flavour the custard like milk and egg mixture.
Apricots for this recipe, I am using whole dried apricots. You can use fresh ones too but I love the idea of having dried ones available all year round.
Amaretto is a sweet Italian liquor that is made with apricot kernels (sometimes bitter almond or peach stones).
Cinnamon stick & Star Anis these aromatics are added to the poaching liquid.
Ricotta flavoured with Lemon is used as a garnish to cut the sweetness of the dish.
Almonds toasted for presentation and texture.
Butter the most important ingredient to cook French toast😉
How to poach apricots in amaretto
As we are using dried apricots, you want to cook them in plenty of poaching liquid. Leftover syrup can be used over ice cream, in cocktails or for other desserts.
To make the poaching liquid, combine sugar with water and bring to a boil.
Add the cinnamon stick, star anis, amaretto, lemon juice and zest. Simmer for 3-5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the apricots and cook at a slow simmer for 15 minutes.
Place the apricots in a jar and pour the poaching liquid over the top. Cool the apricots in the poaching liquid but serve them warm or at room temperature.
If you store them in the fridge, take them out atleast half an hour before you serve them.
How to make French toast from scratch
If you prepare the recipe the same day, I suggest soaking the French toasts before you poach the apricots. I find that 30 minutes to 1 hour, is good time for the brioche to soak up enough liquid - keeps it moist and makes it tasty!
If soaked for too long, it can make them rather soggy in the centre which I honestly don't enjoy eating.
The egg mixture
The egg mixture is simple to prepare. In a large bowl combine egg, vanilla essence, sugar and milk.
Beat well with a whisk and the mixture is ready.
Now, cut the brioche into thick slices and one by one, dip them into the egg custard.
Leave each slice for 10 seconds in the egg mixture and then turn around to soak the other side for another 10 seconds.
Place the soaked brioche slices in a deep dish and pour over any excess custard.
Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before frying the soaked brioche slices.
How to cook French toast
Cooking French toast is fairly easy. You know they are ready when each side has that beautiful golden fried colour. But how do you do this? The answer is butter!
Butter really helps cooking the French toast and caramelising the sugary custard mixture.
Start with a medium hot non-stick pan and let a piece of butter slowly melt in it. When the pan is coated with butter, add the French toasts. Unless you have a very large pan or griddle, add only 2 slices at a time.
Increase the heat and and cook about 2-3 minutes per side. Add more butter if you find the pan getting too dry.
Lift the slice up, if it has taken on that golden brown colour, turn around and cook the other side for 2-3 minutes.
Continue cooking the remaining French toasts the same way.
Garnishing the French toasts
To make the garnish add grated lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon to the ricotta. Whip it slightly with a whisk and keep aside. Next, toast the almond flakes in a dry pan until lightly browned.
Both the garnishes can be prepared prior to making the French toast.
In a plate stack 2 French toast slices, place a spoon full of the poached apricot on top and drizzle the amaretto syrup over the top and around.
Place a spoon full of the lemon ricotta on the side, garnish with the toasted almonds and lemon balm leaves or mint just before serving.
Yes absolutely, if you are planning a family breakfast, pre cook the french toast and re-heat in the oven covered with aluminium foil at 150°C (300°F) for 15 minutes.
Yes they can. Use a dairy free bread and replace the milk with dairy free milk like soy or almond. Cook the French toasts in oil instead of butter. You can replace the ricotta with coconut yoghurt.
Well, the longer you keep the poached apricots, the more flavour they develop. The sugar acts as a preservative and since we are using dried apricots, you can keep them for months. Ideally store in a dark, cold place (cellar) they should be consumed within 3 months otherwise store in the fridge.
Other French toast garnishes
French toast tastes delicious with any topping, here are few of our favourite ones:
- with peaches poached in rose wine
- topped with homemade lemon myrtle curd or mandarin marmalade
- sprinkled with macadamia nut brittle
- served with a side of apple caramel sauce
- simply garnished with whipped cream, berries and maple syrup
So, which topping would you pick?
More brunch ideas
French toast is a great dish for brunch but If you are planning an incredible brunch spread, here are some recipes to inspire you:
- kale shakshuka with chickpeas and zaatar
- cured salmon gravlax with mustard dill sauce
- zucchini, pea and ricotta fritters
- asparagus and parmesan crostata
Until then happy cooking!
Easy French Toast Recipe with Apricots in Amaretto Syrup
- mixing bowls
- large dish
- wide pan or pot
- non stick pan
- glass jar
for the french toast
- 8 slices brioche or any other bread
- 3 large eggs
- 200 millilitre full fat milk
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla essence
- 80 gram unsalted butter
for the apricots
- 375 gram dried whole apricots
- 300 millilitre water
- 180 millilitre amaretto
- 40 gram caster sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anis
- 2 strips lemon peel
for the garnish
- 250 gram ricotta
- 1 lemon
- 50 gram sliced almonds
for the french toast
- In a large bowl combine egg, milk, sugar and vanilla essence. Beat well with a whisk.
- Dip each slice into the egg mixture and leave for 10 seconds. Turn the brioche slice around and soak the other side for 10 seconds.
- Remove the slice from the egg mixture and place in a large deep dish. Repeat with the other slices until all have been soaked.
- Leave aside for 30 minutes.
for the apricots
- Meanwheil In a wide pan or pot combine sugar with water and bring to a boil. Add the amaretto, lemon strips, cinnamon stick and star anis
- Simmer for 3-5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Add the apricots and cook on a slow simmer for 15 minutes.
- Place the apricots in a jar and pour the poaching liquid over the top. Cool the apricots in the poaching liquid but serve warm or at room temperature.
- If stored in the fridge, take them out of the fridge 30 minutes before you serve.
for the garnish
- Place the ricotta in a bowl and add grated lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon. Slightly whip with a whisk.
- Toast the almond flakes in a dry pan until lightly browned.
cooking the french toast
- Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat and add a small piece of butter. When the butter has melted add the brioche slices (two at a time unless you have a very large pan).
- Increase the heat and and cook about 2-3 minutes per side. Add more butter if you find the pan too dry. Lift the slice up, if it has taken on that golden brown colour turn around and cook the other side for 2-3 minutes.
- Cook the remaining french toasts the same way.
to plate up
- In a plate stack 2 french toast slices and place a spoon full of the poached apricot on top. Drizzle the amaretto syrup over the top and around.
- Place a spoon full of the lemon ricotta on the side and garnish with the toasted almonds and lemon balm leaves or mint (optional).