The call to make Curtis Stone's Cinnamon French Toast with Caramelized Bananas and Mascarpone was so strong. Caramel failures be damned. I was bound and determined to make this happen. Maybe it was Curtis' directions. Maybe it was just my lucky day, but either way I was successful! I finally produced a smooth and buttery caramel sauce.
At that moment I knew this recipe would be a total game changer. Instead of "Let There Be Cake", it was now "Let There Be Caramel Sauce". Countless variations. Caramel sauce on French Toast, pancakes, waffles, ice cream...you name it!
But for now all that mattered was that we weren't going to have plain French toast for breakfast (my plan if the caramel didn't work out). Oh no! We were going to have French Toast dusted in cinnamon-sugar, topped with the most beautiful caramelized bananas, and a creamy dollop of Mascarpone cheese. And it was everything and more. It was so stinkin' delicious!
Cinnamon French Toast with Caramelized Bananas and Mascarpone
Adapted from Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone
1/2 cup sugar
2 bananas, sliced on the bias
3 tablespoons salted butter
6 large eggs
Four 1/2" thick slices of brioche bread
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
Mascarpone cheese, to garnish
To prepare the caramelized bananas: Combine the sugar and 1/4 cup water in a large heavy saute pan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the liquid comes to a simmer. Then boil over medium-high heat without stirring, brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush and swirling the pan occasionally to ensure that the syrup cooks evenly, for 6 minutes, or until the syrup begins to turn golden brown. Immediately remove the pan from the heat. Add the bananas and butter and swirl until the butter melts. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until the bananas are just tender. Set the caramelized bananas aside.
To make the French toast: Using a fork, beat the eggs in a 13 x 9" baking dish. Place the slices of brioche in the eggs and let stand, turning the slices once, for 5 minutes, or until the eggs are absorbed. (Note: Sometimes I feel like this results in soggy French toast so I usually just quickly dip my bread in the egg, allowing the excess to drip back into the dish).
Stir the sugar and cinnamon together on a large plate; set it aside. Melt the butter on a large heavy griddle pan (I like my cast iron skillet for this) over medium heat. Add the brioche slices to the hot pan and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown on the outside and heated through. Immediately place the hot French toast in the cinnamon-sugar and turn to coat completely. (Note: If you do not like your food too sweet then you might want to elect to simply sprinkle on some cinnamon-sugar instead of dousing your French toast in the mixture. This is a very sweet breakfast!)
Divide the French toast among 4 serving plates. Spoon the caramelized bananas over the French toast. Top with a dollop of Mascarpone cheese, and serve.
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