Recipe: French toast with agave, cacao nibs and bacon

15 July 2021
Recipe: French toast with agave, cacao nibs and bacon

Taken from Ciudad de México by Edson Diaz-Fuentes (Hardie Grant, £26)

Cinnamon plays a big part in Mexican cooking. While these delicate quills are not indigenous to Mexico and were originally imported from Sri Lanka, states like Veracruz and Tabasco now produce cinnamon. What makes this French toast unique is its coating of cinnamon sugar. Use thick brioche slices to get the full contrast between the moist centre and crispy topping.

Serves 4

  • 300ml milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • ½tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8 rashers of smoked back or streaky bacon
  • 4tbs dark agave syrup
  • 20g butter
  • 200g stale brioche loaf, cut into thick slices

For the coating

  • 1tbs ground cinnamon
  • 4tbs caster sugar

For the topping

  • 60g granola with amaranth (see below)
  • 15g cacao nibs
  • 1tbs agave syrup, to drizzle

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Combine the milk, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl and whisk until well blended. Set aside. Brush the bacon rashers on both sides with the agave syrup and place on the prepared baking tray. Bake for about six minutes on each side, or until well caramelised. Set aside and keep warm.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a very low heat. Dip each brioche slice into the egg mixture, then place into the frying pan. Cook for two minutes on each side, or until golden.

Meanwhile, prepare the cinnamon sugar coating by mixing together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and setting aside.

Transfer the brioche slices on to serving plates and lightly dust on both sides with the cinnamon sugar. Top with the bacon rashers, then sprinkle with the granola and cocoa nibs. Finish with a drizzle of agave syrup and serve.

Granola with amaranth

I love to play with texture, and this granola ticks all the boxes. I bake it at two different temperatures to get the crispiest oats, seeds and almonds, then combine them with the fluffy amaranth and moist cranberries.

Makes 680g

  • 50g amaranth seeds
  • 200g oats
  • 100g pumpkin seeds
  • 70g whole almonds
  • 50g coconut oil, melted
  • 30g dark agave syrup
  • 100ml apple juice
  • 180g cranberries

Preheat the oven to 140ºC/120ºC fan. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

First, make the puffed amaranth. Place a small saucepan over a medium to high heat. Once it's hot, spread half of the amaranth seeds across the base of the pan and wait for them to pop – it should happen quickly. If they don't pop, your pan is not hot enough, so wipe it and start again. Once they start popping, shake the pan to make sure all the seeds pop and nothing burns. Remove the puffed seeds from the pan and repeat with the remaining seeds. Set aside.

Combine the oats, pumpkin seeds, almonds, coconut oil, agave and apple juice and mix well.

Transfer the mixture on to the prepared baking tray and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 100ºC/80ºC fan and bake for another 40 minutes. Leave the tray in the oven, with the door slightly ajar, until the mix is completely cool, around 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and stir in the amaranth and cranberries, then leave to cool. It will keep well in an airtight container for two weeks.

Photo: Robert Billington and Adam Wiseman

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