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Like most people, my family has it’s fair share of holiday traditions. Christmas dinner is one of them – Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding and Angel Food Birthday Cake with Grandma’s Frosting – and no, the birthday cake isn’t for the man man behind the holiday, but for my husband! Thus, any suggestions for changes in the dinner menu are met by a certain look and statements such as “sounds great, but the Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding are SO good”. Translation – “not in this lifetime Mom”. For some people that wouldn’t be a problem – tradition after all does carry with it the comfort of longstanding practice. But for the culinarily inclined it can be a bit well.. stifling. The only saving grace is that our family has NO Christmas breakfast tradition … well, aside from bacon.. but really who can argue with bacon? So, this is where Mom gets to flex her culinary muscles a little and thus fulfill the promise of peace on earth and good will towards men (even if those men are only the men of my family). Each year I play with various breakfast options – some years it’s sweet and some years it’s savory depending upon my whim – and what I think I can get away with. This year, I decided to go with sweet – but not overly sweet since the day will be filled with lot of Christmas cheer which includes copious amounts of Christmas cookies and See’s candy. So what am I going to make? French Toast with Pomegranate Syrup.
I’ve been playing with pomegranates and pomegranate juice a lot in the last few weeks – it started with roasted eggplant with pomegranate and then progressed to cooking figs in pomegranate juice. After making that I knew that a version of that syrup would be outstanding on breakfast items – pancakes, french toast or ebelskivers. Since french toast is a personal favorite, I decided to try the syrup on that and it didn’t disappoint. Sweet, but with enough tartness that those sweet sensors on your tongue aren’t overloaded so it’s a perfect primer for the sweet onslaught that follows. I may or may not have another “tradition” in the making but at least this year there will be peace on earth and good will towards men… at least in my house and hopefully in yours as well!
French Toast with Pomegranate Syrup
- 32 oz. fresh pomegranate juice ( I used POM)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 0 3 tsp. honey (optional)
- French Toast
- 8 – 1 inch slices sourdough or country style bread, slightly stale
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- powdered sugar
- pomegranate arils
- For Syrup – In a large saucepan bring the pomegranate juice, cinnamon sticks and vanilla to a boil. Boil until reduced to a syrup consistency – about 20 minutes. Cool. Remove cinnamon sticks.
- For french toast – Combine eggs, half and half, sugar and vanilla is a bowl.
- Whisk the mixture until thoroughly mixed.
- Place the bread slices on a large rimmed baking sheet. Pour egg mixture over bread and let sit for at least 5 minutes, flip over and let sit for another 5 minutes.
- Pre heat oven to 200 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
- Pour the syrup ( if made ahead) into a small saucepan and heat over low heat.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium high heat.
- Add butter to pan. When butter has melted and is bubbling, add the bread.
- Cook for 3 – 4 minutes until bread is golden brown on the bottom.
- Flip bread over and cook for another 3 – 4 minutes until golden brown.
- Place cooked slices onto the lined baking sheet and place in oven while you cook the remaining slices.
- When all the bread is cooked, arrange slices onto plates. Garnish with powdered sugar, syrup and pomegranate arils if desired.
The syrup can be made up to 1 month ahead of time and refrigerated.
I enjoyed the syrup as is but it may be a bit too tart for some tastes. If so, feel free to add a few teaspoons of honey until it is sweetened to your taste.
The toast can be assembled through step 4 up to a day in advance. Just remove the toast from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to cook it.