Bananas Foster French Toast
Dulce de leche is everywhere this spring: sandwiched in nutty butter cookies, smeared on stacks of paper-thin crêpes, swirled through ice cream, and layered atop everything from cheesecake to panna cotta. Hoorah! We can’t get enough of the stuff. If you’ve never had it, imagine whole milk and a generous amount of sugar cooked down to a buttery-smooth caramel sauce — in other words, heaven on a spoon.
For this recipe, we created a hybrid of dulce de leche and bananas foster — and put it on French toast with a dollop of crème fraîche.
Knowing that topping would be completely over the top, we kept the French toast fairly simple. It’s just bread, eggs, milk, vanilla — and a little sweetened condensed milk for good measure. We did use Italian bread: It has a lot of structure, so it’ll sop up the rich, eggy milk without going soggy on you. And it’ll hold up well in the oven while you’re preparing the bananas.
To make what we’re fondly calling the dulce de bananas foster, we cook the brown sugar, butter, and bourbon until the booze evaporates. (Less dramatic than the flambé of rum, we know, but bourbon makes a nice foil for the sugar.) When that’s nice and thick, we stir in sweetened condensed milk, bananas, and toasted pecans. The result is an ultra-creamy caramel sauce full of crunchy nuts and soft, warm bananas. We love it in combination with a bite of fluffy yet firm French toast and light, milky crème fraîche — did we already mention heaven?
Don’t skip the crème fraîche: The cream provides some ballast for all that brown sugar and sweet milk, and the caramel mellows out the cream’s tangy side. It’s our new favorite flavor combination. If you don’t have crème fraîche, a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt will also be fantastic.
This confection is almost (but not quite) too much for brunch. We’d make it on a slow Saturday when you have nothing planned beyond curling up with a good book, an old movie, or your best dog. If there are bigger plans afoot, serve it as the dessert course to a platter of scrambled eggs, crispy smashed potatoes — and a vat of coffee, of course.
Our tip: You’re going to want to put this topping on everything! Definitely ice cream and pancakes, and possibly even peanut butter toast.
For the French toast:
3 large Gelson’s eggs
¾ cup milk
¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
8 slices Italian bread, about ¾-inch thick
For the bananas foster:
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp bourbon
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chopped Gelson’s pecan halves
2 to 3 bananas, sliced on a bias
2 Tbsp water
Kosher salt, to taste
Crème fraîche, for serving
To make the French toast: Preheat the oven to 300°. In a large bowl or shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, milk, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and salt in a large bowl or shallow dish.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Dip 2 slices of bread in the egg mixture, turning to coat, and place them in the hot skillet. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a sheet pan.
Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the remaining bread. Transfer the sheet pan to the oven to keep the French toast warm.
To make the bananas foster: Wipe out the skillet and return it to medium heat.
Melt the butter in the skillet, then stir in the brown sugar and bourbon. Cook until all of the alcohol has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir to combine.
Add the pecans and banana slices, toss to combine, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until warmed through.
Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to loosen the mixture and season with salt.
To serve, divide the French toast slices among 4 plates and top them with the banana mixture and dollops of crème fraîche.