Last year, my freelancing musician boyfriend took a side gig teaching Hebrew school at a neighborhood synagogue on Sunday mornings. Like, 8:00am on Sunday morning. I understood his desire to teach and make some extra money, but it frustrated me to relinquish him to a bunch of strangers’ six-year olds during prime pancake and omelet hours. (Especially since, in my new mostly Shabbat observant life, Saturday morning was also out).
Luckily, all those early mornings paid off. The synagogue changed its Hebrew school structure - he now teaches during the week, clearing up Sunday mornings for New York Times reading, bluegrass listening, and – of course - brunch.
This morning, we celebrated with coffee in the Turkish tea glasses he recently found on the street (ahhh, Brooklyn!) and french toast. Made with leftover challah and organic free-range eggs, and topped with pears softened with agave nectar and ginger, it was french toast fit for The Jew & The Carrot. Check out the recipe below the jump.
Now that we have Sunday mornings free, we need more recipe ideas! I’d love to hear some of your favorite healthy (or more indulgent) brunch meals…
French Toast with Ginger and Agave Nectar Pears
Pear compote with ginger and agave nectar
1 large or 2 small bosc pears, chopped
1 Tbs agave nectar (maple syrup would work too, but might overpower the pears)
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 Tbs water
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped crystalized ginger (optional)
Note* make the compote first – while it’s cooking, make your french toast. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook over low heat, stirring regularly, until the pears soften and soak up the fragrant ginger liquid. Adjust by adding small amounts of more water and agave, until you reach a consistency you like. (I like mine a little stickier, like chutney.)
Extra whole wheat challah – ideally enough to make 6 slices
2 eggs and three egg whites
1/4 cup organic, low fat milk
pinch of salt
3 Tbs Earth Balance or organic butter
Using a serrated bread knife, cut challah into six 3/4-inch slices, set aside. In a deep bowl, crack the two eggs and three egg whites. Add milk and salt, and whisk with a fork until combined. Pour mixture into a pie dish or 9-inch baking dish. Submerge bread in egg mixture until it is coated well on each side. Don’t let it sit too long in the mixture, or it will start to fall apart!
Melt 1 Tbs of the butter in a skillet until bubbling, but not brown. Fry egged bread slices on each side until brown. (You can put the finished toasts on a baking sheet in the oven at 200 degrees or less to keep them warm while you finish). Add another Tbs of butter and repeat until all the bread is cooked.
Serve warm topped with pear compote and drizzled with maple syrup.