my favourite french toast inspired by bb’s diner in toronto – and i try my hand at describing food more …er, descriptively? properly?
This french toast is based on the version at BB’s diner – a Toronto filipino brunch spot in a two-floor house, charmingly retrofitted with what could be pastel-coloured 80s McDonald’s booth seating, houseplants, vibrantly flowered tablecloths and mismatched vintage china. The food trumps even the charming interior design. Their tapsilog is a trifecta of runny-yolked eggs, addictively pungent garlic fried rice and crisp fried milkfish dipped in tart vinegar. Another one: an omelette of fluffed egg melded with melting, charred eggplant, showered in golden rosti. Out of all of this though, the french toast is my favourite.
It looks unassuming – square white bread, sliced at a regular thickness, the custardy interior cooked until a bit firm. But pale gold banana dulce de leche lies below a whispery canopy of powdered sugar, slivered almonds and shredded coconut. The toast itself rests in a pool of what I assume is warmed evaporated milk, tasting opaque and cooked. It is every sort of delicious and comforting; think the mellow flavours, and the tres leches-crossed-with-porridge vibe from the bath of warm evaporated milk.
I thought I’d try making it at home; thanks to the menu description and many components being fairly identifiable, I piled them one on top of the other and hoped for the best – and it was delicious! My version is quite simple to make, and I think quite comparable (I think I could be missing some more coconut action somewhere – oh and toast your slivered almonds and coconut!). If you prepare the banana dulce de leche ahead of time, it’s no more work than a typical french toast with garnishing. But of course, if the opportunity were to arise, I would highly recommend trying the original!
It’s especially that pool of evaporated milk that I love. I’m thinking I could try making bostock and serving it in evaporated milk next.
banana & dulce de leche french toast
banana dulce de leche
two slices milk bread (since we’re at it, maybe the pullman loaf from Blackbird Bakery?)
1 1/2 tbsp evaporated milk (or use coconut milk if you have some on hand – but if not, we’ve certainly opened enough cans already!)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
couple pinches salt
couple pinches ground cinnamon
butter to cook with
1/4 c evaporated milk
unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
blanched slivered almonds, lightly toasted
For the dulce de leche: Use the condensed milk to make dulce de leche – for example, the unopened can way. If you are unwise like me and have part of an already opened can of condensed milk, you can cook it in a saucepan on the stovetop until it is sufficiently caramelized but then very, very thick and hard once cooled and then need to reconstitute it into a soft form by dissolving it in an appropriate amount of milk.
Once you have some dulce de leche – however you got there- cut a banana into slices. Heat a saucepan with a tiny bit of butter and add the banana, cooking it until soft and half mush with some small chunks. Combine this with a 1/4 c of the dulce de leche, and set aside. This will make enough for 4-6 pieces of french toast, depending on how much you use per slice.
For the french toast: For two slices (multiply the ingredients as desired for more pieces of bread), whisk together the egg, 1 1/2 tbsp evaporated milk, vanilla extract, salt and couple pinches of cinnamon. Dip the slices in the egg mixture on both sides, and set aside ready to cook.
When you’re ready to get started: In a small saucepan or microwave, warm the 1/4 cup of evaporated milk with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Heat the butter in a pan, add the slices, and cook on both sides. Especially if the banana dulce de leche is cold and firm, once the slices have been flipped, dollop 1 tbsp of banana dulce de leche on the cooked side of each slice so it can warm as the bottom side cooks.
Place the slice of french toast on top and spread the tbsp of banana dulce de leche over the surface. Sprinkle with unsweetened shredded coconut and slivered almonds. Dust with icing sugar. Spoon 2 tbsp of warm cinnamon evaporated milk around the slice (or flood the bottom of each plate before laying down the slice).
Serve right away! Though I did find it reheats well in the microwave if you need to pause to take a picture.