Yes, the “PERFECT” in the title is 100% necessary AND 100% true. Before you dismiss this as another “attention grabbing headline,” let me take a minute to explain my love affair with French Toast. Young Ryan’s favorite food was French Toast (yes, I’m talking about myself in the third person). He would beg his mom to make it for him before he went to school in the morning (she wouldn’t), he would order it at every diner he entered, and he could devour a whole box of French Toast sticks if he were allowed too. Something about that soft, custard-y bread that’s golden brown on the outside, perfectly moist on the inside, and topped with butter & thick pancake syrup just made his heart swoon.
Yes, French Toast was his first true love, and the more he ate, the more of an acquired taste he gained. He knew that French Toast had to be soft & moist without being mushy, golden brown & toasty without being hard, and thick enough to sink a fork into without being bready in the center. It was a tough balance to achieve, but no doubt, there were a few that accomplished this goldilocks equation perfectly. But then one day, not-so-young Ryan decided that he was no longer going to eat butter, milk, or eggs, and with that vow he waived goodbye to his first love, knowing that they may never embrace each other again like they had in his youth.
Sad story, isn’t it? Say what you want, but in my four years of being vegan, I haven’t found a French Toast that completely satisfies my craving. I’m sorry internet vegans, but blended bananas, chia seeds mixed with water, or almond milk are not going to cut it. See, French Toast is a complex mixture of thirsty bread and a custard that browns and sets as it cooks. Have you ever cooked a banana? It turns into mush real quick.
All of this to say that I’m serious about French Toast and I wouldn’t put up a recipe if it wasn’t entirely perfect, which means there’s been a change in my views on vegan French Toast. When I want something, I’m going to make it happen, even if it requires five loaves of bread, many hours standing by the stove (im)patiently, and more failures than I can remember. After at least 15 different variations, we discovered the perfect formula, which is probably really complicated, right? Thankfully, it’s not! Only seven ingredients are required to create breakfast bliss, but each ingredient is vitally important in the execution of the final product, as French Toast’s magic lies in the chemistry of bread, custard, and sweetness. For this reason, if there’s ever been a time to stick to a recipe like the Holy Bible, this is it; one substitution could turn the whole dish South.
We attempted staling out the bread, trying different milks, different to no amounts of Vegan Egg, and most importantly, at least five different types of bread. It wasn’t until we posted to our Instagram asking for French Toast tips that our friend Jeo messaged us saying that Whole Foods uses ciabatta bread for their in-house French Toast and bread pudding. Alas, we stroke French Toast eureka. Thank you Jeo!
The sautéed pear and orange cream cheese whip components are totally optional but they do elevate your French Toast game to a fancy, four-star restaurant level dish. Plus, French Toast is versatile, which means it plays nicely with other flavors and textures, so take a stroll out of the straight up butter & maple syrup zone for once and try out something festive, fruity, creamy, citrus-y, and comforting. However, the French Toast itself is:
- Simple, easy, and vegan
- Moist on the inside & toasty on the outside
- Laced with vanilla, spiced with nutmeg, and lightly sweetened
- The PERFECT Vegan French Toast
If you like what your tastebuds are tellin’ ya, leave behind a nice rating, share your thoughts with us in the comments, or show us your creations by tagging @noeggsorham on Instagram.
PERFECT Vegan French Toast w/ Butter Rosemary Sautéed Pear and Orange Cream Cheese Whip
Toasted brown & buttery on the outside, tender & moist on the inside, laced with vanilla, and subtly spiced with nutmeg.
- 5 oz (1/2 c + 2 tbsps) soy milk
- 1 tbsp packed Vegan Egg powder by Follow Your Heart
- 1 tbsp agave
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 loaf of ciabatta bread
- vegan butter for frying
- 1 pear, peeled and diced
- 1 tbsp vegan butter
- 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely minced
- pinch of salt
- sprinkle of cinnamon
Orange Cream Cheese Whip
- 1/4 c vegan cream cheese (Miyoko’s is our favorite)
- 1/4 c heavy coconut whipping cream, chilled
- 1 tsp fresh orange zest
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- powdered sugar
- maple syrup
- Orange Cream Cheese Whip: Place the bowl of a stand-up mixer and whisk attachment, or a medium mixing bowl and electric hand whisk beaters, into the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Combine all of the Orange Cream Cheese Whip ingredients in the chilled stand-up mixer bowl and whip with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until fluffy, scraping down the sides a couple times throughout; about 5 minutes. Cover and place in fridge.
- Sautéed Pear: Heat a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in butter and let it melt. Toss in pear, rosemary, salt, and cinnamon. Cook, tossing occasionally, until pear is lightly browned in spots. Reduce heat to low, cover, and store until ready to serve.
- French Toast: Pre-heat oven to 200° F. Slice ciabatta bread into 1/2 inch slices, or – if a bigger slice with more surface area is desired – slice the bread on the bias, as seen in the photos. Set aside.
- In a cake pan or shallow bowl, whisk together 2 oz soy milk with Vegan Egg powder, until smooth. Then whisk in agave, vanilla, nutmeg, and the rest of the soy milk. Set aside.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat or an electric griddle to 350° F. Allow to heat up completely; about 4 minutes. Once hot, spread a generous amount of butter on the pan where the French Toast is going to be placed.
- Soak bread in soy milk batter for 5 seconds per side, brush off excess batter, and place on buttered pan (however many will fit at a time). Cook until golden brown, flip, and cook until golden on second side; 3-5 minutes per side.
- Place on a cookie sheet, cover with a clean tea towel, and store in oven until the rest is finished. Repeat until batter runs out.
- Serving: Serve while fresh, topped with a spoonful of Sautéed Pear, a dollop of Orange Cream cheese whip, a dusting of powdered sugar, and a drizzle of maple syrup (if desired).