This recipe is an anomaly. Not because of its flavor profile or styling. It’s out of the ordinary because it is sweet and I am generally not a sweet breakfast or brunch person. I’m a breakfast sandwich person, a full English kind of gal, an ardent quiche supporter. Pancakes, waffles, and yes, french toast are far from the mainstays on my plate. But now and then a craving hits. Now, admittedly that craving is reserved for blueberry pancakes alone. But once in a blue moon, only French toast will do. And because this is a rarity, it only makes sense to milk it for all its worth. So instead of straight-ahead French Toast, I made this cinnamon-sugar-dusted Horchata French Toast. And they were so good, I feel confident that they will up the frequency of my French toast cravings. That is both a good thing and a dangerous thing.
Now, I’m going to level with you, Horchata French Toast is a little more effort than traditional French toast. And it does require some forethought. That’s because you need to make the horchata before you can make the French toast. Luckily, horchata is simple and quick to put together but it does take its sweet time after that. You should give your horchata a solid 12 hours to chill and intensify in flavor. You can reduce this wait time, but it will result in a weaker horchata. I left mine for a couple of days and it was better for it.
To make the horchata, place sugar, rice, silvered almonds, and cinnamon in a food processor. Add 2 cups of cold water and blitz until everything is broken down to the texture of coarse cornmeal. Pour the concoction into a large jar and seal. Place the horchata in the fridge for a minimum of 12 hours or up to three days. When the horchata has finished resting, pour it through several layers of cheesecloth and a fine mesh strainer. Discard the solids or cook them up in a little water to make a speedy rice pudding.
While a certain amount of patience is required to make the horchata, the rest of this recipe is quite quick. So when the hunger and a potential hangover hits, brunch is only moments away.
Pour the horchata into a large bowl. Crack in six eggs and add a little salt. Horchata is quite sweet, so adding extra sugar here isn’t necessary or advised. But a little salt will give the custard some depth. Give the eggs and the horchata a good whisk. You don’t want to be shy here. We want to break up the whites, so there aren’t streaks of whites on your otherwise perfectly golden slices.
Once your custard is ready, it’s time to slice up your bread. I used brioche, but another enriched bread, such as challah is a great choice. You want a spongey but sturdy bread that can withstand soaking. And make sure you slice your chosen bread nice and thick but not too thick. Aim for about an inch. You want the slice to be substantial enough that it doesn’t disintegrate during the soaking process, but you also don’t want a slice so thick that it doesn’t fully cook in the middle.
Now, let’s talk about dunking because yes, there is a right way to dunk. Don’t just introduce your bread to the custard, let it luxuriate in it. Fully immerse the bread then leave it for 10 minutes, flipping once halfway through. I like to introduce a new piece of bread to the custard the moment I place a soaked piece in the pan. By the time that slice of French toast is finished cooking, the soaking piece will be ready for the pan.
And speaking of the pan, make sure you butter it and add a little neutral oil. Butter is best for flavoring and browning but is prone to burning, so add a little oil to amp up its smoking point. Keep the heat at medium-low while you’re cooking your French Toast. We want the center to cook through before the exterior browns too much, so don’t rush the process. Aim for 5 minutes per side. This will give you a crisp exterior and a silky, custardy interior. Keep the finished French toast in a low 150°F oven.
Once your Horchata French Toast is cooked, feel free to dress it up any you want. I went with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and cinnamon and a handful of blackberries. But maple syrup would be a classic choice, blueberries are always welcome, or add a few dollops of your favorite jam. There are no wrong answers here.
And that’s everything you need to know about this Horchata French Toast. A small but very tasty twist on the classic brunch paired with juicy blackberries for balance.
Horchata French Toast with Blackberries
- 1 blender
- 1 Large skillet
- 1 Fine Mesh Strainer
- 1 vanilla bean
- ½ cup uncooked Jasmine rice
- ½ cup slivered almonds plus more for sprinkling
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon divided
- 2 cups cold water
- 6 large eggs
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 8 slices brioche sliced 1-inch thick
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tsp neutral oil I used canola
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- ½ pint blackberries halved
- Split the vanilla bean lengthwise. Using the blunt end of a knife, scrape out the caviar and set it aside. **1 vanilla bean
- Place the rice, almonds, sugar, vanilla caviar, and a teaspoon of the cinnamon in a large blender. Add the water and blitz until the rice and nuts are nice and fine. Pour the mixture into a jar and seal it. Place it in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or for up to 3 days.½ cup uncooked Jasmine rice, ½ cup slivered almonds, ⅓ cup granulated sugar, 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon, 2 cups cold water
- Pour the horchata through a fine mesh strainer lined with a few layers of cheesecloth. Form the cloth into a bundle and squeeze it to release any excess moisture. Discard the solids.
- Crack the eggs into the finished horchata and add the salt. Whisk well to combine. Immerse a piece of brioche in the mixture and let soak for 10 minutes, flipping the slice once halfway through.6 large eggs, ¼ tsp kosher salt, 8 slices brioche
- While the brioche is soaking, add the butter and oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is foamy, place the soaked brioche in the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until golden on both sides – about 3-5 minutes per side. Place the finished French Toast in a low 150°F oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining slices of brioche. ***1 tbsp unsalted butter, 2 tsp neutral oil
- In a small bowl, whisk to combine the powdered sugar and the remaining cinnamon. Arrange two slices of French toast on a plate and pour the sugar mixture into a small fine mesh strainer. Dust the French toast with the sugar mixture and top with some of the blackberries and some additional slivered almonds. Serve immediately.1 tbsp powdered sugar, ½ pint blackberries